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Press Release

Yankton Man Sentenced for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Yankton, South Dakota, man convicted of Felon in Possession of a Firearm was sentenced on November 16, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Jesse Ray Rains, age 40, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Rains was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 8, 2019.  He pled guilty on August 26, 2020.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on October 17, 2018, when law enforcement executed a lawful search of Rains’ home and discovered several firearms, including a DPMS, Model A-15, 5.56 NATO caliber rifle; a Sturm, Ruger & Company Inc., Model American Rimfire, 17 HMR caliber rifle; a Sturm, Ruger & Company Inc., Model 10/22., .22 caliber rifle; and a Smith & Wesson, Model SD40VE., .40 caliber pistol.

At that time, Rains was prohibited from possessing firearms because he had been previously convicted of one or more crimes punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year. 

The seized firearms were manufactured at facilities outside of South Dakota and, thus, were transported across state lines at some point during or before Rains possessed them.

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 and the Union County Sheriff’s Office.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara P. Nash prosecuted the case.

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

Updated November 22, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses