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Press Release

Rapid City Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Firearm

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

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court, has sentenced a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of Firearm by a Prohibited Person. The sentencing took place on November 27, 2023.

Gassem Belhage, 26, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Belhage was indicted for Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person by a federal grand jury in June 2023. He pleaded guilty on August 21, 2023.

In April of 2023, in Rapid City, Belhage, a previously convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing firearms, was found in possession of a loaded Sturm, Ruger & Company Incorporated, model AR-556 caliber, semi-automatic rifle, along with two loaded 26 round magazines for the rifle, which were found after Belhage came into contact with law enforcement during a traffic stop.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Rapid City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson prosecuted the case.

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

Updated November 28, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses