United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Tyndall, South Dakota, man convicted of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and was sentenced on September 21, 2020, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.
Jose Eduardo Rodriguez, age 44, was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison for each charge, followed by 3 years of supervised release for the firearm charge and 5 years of supervised release for the failure to register as a sex offender charge, to run concurrently, forfeiture of the firearm and all ammunition found in his possession, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.
Rodriguez was indicted on both charges by a federal grand jury on February 11, 2020. He pled guilty to both charges on June 30, 2020.
The convictions stem from an incident that occurred on December 26, 2019, during a traffic stop, Rodriguez was found with an unregistered firearm and multiple rounds of ammunition. Rodriguez, knowingly possessed a firearm made from a rifle, with a barrel of less than sixteen inches in length, which was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Further, Rodriguez was convicted of Fourth Degree Rape in July 1998. As a result of his conviction, he is required to register as a sex offender. Between August 18, 2019, and December 26, 2019, the date of the traffic stop, Rodriguez had failed to properly register as a sex offender and update his registration.
The firearm charge 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.
The firearm charge 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.
These cases were investigated by the Murdo Police Department, the Lyman County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson prosecuted the case.
Rodriguez was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.