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Press Release

Rapid City Man Sentenced for Cocaine and Firearm Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

Acting United States Attorney Dennis Holmes announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on March 22, 2021, Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.

Michael Kearney, age 29, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, a fine of $500, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.

Kearney was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 9, 2020.  He pled guilty on December 21, 2020.

The convictions stemmed from a drug conspiracy that occurred from January 2017 through March 2018. Kearney was involved in a conspiracy with others on the Rosebud Indian Reservation to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Further, on July 23, 2017, Kearney, knowing he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance, knowingly possessed a firearm.

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.

This case was investigated by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Meghan N. Dilges prosecuted the case.

Kearney was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated March 22, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses