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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 5, 2021

Rapid City Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Firearm and Drug Charges

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Rapid City man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Crime was sentenced on June 24, 2021, by Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Jonathan Blacksmith, age 45, was convicted by a jury of all five charges and was sentenced to a total of 16 years and three months in federal prison.  Blacksmith was also sentenced to four years of supervised released and was ordered to pay a total of $500 in special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Evidence at trial established Blacksmith, knowing he was a convicted felon, possessed a Glock 9mm pistol in Kyle on February 17, 2017, and a .40 caliber pistol in Rapid City in January 2017.  Blacksmith distributed 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Kyle in February 2017.  In January 2017, Blacksmith distributed methamphetamine in Rapid City while in possession of the .40 caliber pistol.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in 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/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-announces-launch-project-guardian-nationwide-strategic-plan.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, the Rapid City Police Department, and the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (“UNET”), which is a local drug task force comprised of various agencies.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman prosecuted and tried the case.

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

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated July 5, 2021