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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Rapid City Man Charged for Assaulting Federal Officers and Conspiring to Sell Methamphetamine

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with Assault on a Federal Officer and Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance.

Uriah Lafferty, age 34, was charged on January 22, 2020.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on February 7, 2020, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.  The penalty upon conviction is a mandatory minimum of 5 years, up to 40 years, in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges relate to Lafferty assaulting three Oglala Sioux Tribe police officers, a deputy U.S. Marshal, and a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper by trying to run them over with his vehicle in December 2019 near Hermosa, South Dakota, while they were attempting to arrest him on a federal warrant related to another case. 

Additionally, between August 2014 and December 2019, Lafferty conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine.

The charges are merely an accusation and Lafferty is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson is prosecuting the case.

Lafferty was detained pending trial.  A trial date has not been set. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated February 12, 2020