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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sioux Falls Man Sentenced to 55 Months on Firearms Charges

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier sentenced a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of Firearms by a Prohibited Person and Possession of a Stolen Firearm, on May 9, 2018.

Dennis Eugene Cockerham, age 46, was sentenced to 55 months in custody, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and to forfeit property.

Cockerham was indicted for possession of firearms by prohibited person, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and possession of a stolen firearm by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2017.  He pled guilty on February 21, 2018.

Cockerham has previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.  In 2005, he was convicted in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

On August 25, 2016, members of the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force, pulled Cockerham over in his vehicle.  They found a loaded pistol under the driver's seat and glass pipes in Cockerham’s pocket and another in his vehicle; both field-tested positive for meth.  A subsequent search of Cockerham’s residence led police to find another handgun, along with drug paraphernalia. 

Cockerham later admitted being in possession of a stolen gun on October 16, 2016.  The gun was one of many that had been stolen during the burglary of a Larchwood residence in June 2016.

This case was investigated by the Sioux Falls Police Department, the Osceola County, Iowa, Sheriff's Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Clapper prosecuted the case.

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.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s 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 the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Cockerham was ordered to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in June.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated May 22, 2018