Skip to main content
Press Release

Watertown Man Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person

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

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Watertown, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on December 6, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Michael Ray Mitchell, age 43, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Mitchell was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 12, 2021.  He pled guilty on September 14, 2021.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on December 18, 2020, in Sioux Falls.  Law enforcement officers on the Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force encountered Mitchell while searching a home for a fugitive.  Officers found Mitchell in the basement pretending to sleep on a couch.  A loaded 9 mm handgun was found between the couch cushions and Mitchell was arrested.  He had previously been convicted of multiple felonies and was prohibited from possessing any firearms.  The gun and all the ammunition were forfeited to the federal government.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force, which included officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

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

Updated December 6, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses