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Press Release

Sioux Falls Man Sentenced on Firearm Charge

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by Prohibited Person was sentenced on April 27, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Sheldon Chuck Cortez, age 27, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Cortez was indicted for Possession of a Firearm by Prohibited Person by a federal grand jury on December 3, 2019.  He pled guilty on February 6, 2020.

On or about September 17, 2019, in the District of South Dakota, Cortez, knowing he had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, did knowingly possess a firearm and ammunition, which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.

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 the local community 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:

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Nash prosecuted the case.

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

Updated May 5, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses