(STL.News) – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Tyndall, South Dakota, man and a Rapid City, South Dakota, woman have been indicted by a federal grand jury for Possession of an Unregistered Firearm. The man has further been indicted for Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
Jose Eduardo Rodriguez, age 44, and Bonnie Jean Estes, age 24, were indicted on February 11, 2020. Rodriguez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on February 14, 2020, and Estes appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on May 13, 2020. Both pled not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The Indictment alleges that on or about December 26, 2019, Rodriguez and Estes knowingly possessed a weapon made from a rifle, with a barrel of less than sixteen inches in length, which was not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The Indictment further alleges that on or about December 26, 2019, Rodriguez, having previously been convicted of a felony, did knowingly possess a firearm.
The charges are merely accusations and Rodriguez and Estes are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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 local communities 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.
The investigation is being conducted by the Murdo Police Department, the Lyman County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson is prosecuting the case.