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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Pine Ridge Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Federal Prison

United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a Pine Ridge, South Dakota, man convicted of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (while Committing a Violent Offense) was sentenced on July 7, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

On the charge of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, Benjamin Wendell Smoke, age 63, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  As to the charge of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, Smoke was sentenced to five years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  The prison sentences are to be served consecutively and the time of supervised release is to be served concurrently.

Smoke was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2019.  He pleaded guilty on January 21, 2022.  The conviction stems from Smoke assaulting another elderly male on March 17, 2019, at Pine Ridge.  Smoke was convicted of First Degree Rape in 1988 and is required to register his address every time he moves for the rest of his life.  At the time of this assault he was not in compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which requires him to register as a sexual offender as a result of a prior sex assault conviction.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Poppen prosecuted the case.

Smoke was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Updated July 12, 2022