United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance was sentenced on August 18, 2020, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.
Patrick Cummings, age 34, was sentenced to 86 months in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release, a $1,000 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100. Cummings was also ordered to forfeit ownership of a handgun seized during the investigation.
Cummings was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 16, 2019. He pled guilty on August 18, 2020.
The conviction stemmed from a traffic stop that occurred on July 4, 2019, in which Cummings possessed with the intent to distribute 127 grams of methamphetamine. Also found during the stop was a Smith & Wesson .380 AUTO caliber, semi-automatic pistol.
Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity. Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers. It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.
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. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
This case was investigated by the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Meghan N. Dilges prosecuted the case.
Cummings was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.