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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Rapid City Man and Woman Charged with Drug and Firearm Crimes

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man and woman were charged in federal district court with Possession of a Stolen Firearm and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.

Cory Myers, age 44, and Esmeralda Stands, age 37, were indicted on March 19, 2019.  Myers was also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person. Vasknetz and Stands appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the charges.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 20 years in federal prison and/or a $1,000,000 fine, lifetime supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges relate to Myers and Stands knowingly possessing stolen firearms as well as methamphetamine.  Law enforcement located approximately 30 firearms in a hotel room being occupied by Myers and Stands.  The firearms had been reported stolen from a storage unit in Rapid City several days prior to law enforcement recovering them in the hotel room. 

The charges are merely an accusation and Myers and Stands are 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 local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Patterson is prosecuting the case.

Myers and Stands were detained pending trial.  A trial date has been set for April 30, 2019. 

Updated April 3, 2019