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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mitchell Man Charged with Methamphetamine and Firearm Offenses

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Mitchell, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number, and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

Eli Erickson, age 31, was indicted on November 14, 2018.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on November 20, 2018, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in federal prison and/or a $10,000,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that beginning at a time unknown but no later than January 1, 2016, and continuing through the date the Indictment was filed, Erickson combined, conspired, confederated and agreed with persons to knowingly distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams of more of methamphetamine. The Indictment also alleges that during this time, Erickson possessed multiple firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  One of the firearms Erickson possessed was a short-barreled shotgun not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and another had the serial number obliterated.

The charges are merely accusations and Erickson is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity.  Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers.  It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook is prosecuting the case.   

Erickson was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.  A trial date has not been set.

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 20, 2018