Mitchell Man Sentenced for Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Person | USAO-SD

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Mitchell, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on October 19, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Matthew John Sweeney, age 36, was sentenced to 5 years of probation and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Sweeney was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 9, 2019.  He pled guilty on July 30, 2020.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on or about September 7, 2019, when the Mitchell Police Department conducted a traffic stop on Sweeney’s vehicle.  Sweeney was subsequently arrested and his vehicle searched.  Law Enforcement found a handgun with an obliterated number, ammunition, as well as drug and drug-related items.  At the time of his arrest, Sweeney was the subject of a valid protection order which prohibited him from using or attempting to use force against another person. 

ATF examined the firearm and concluded it was manufactured at a facility outside of South Dakota and, thus, transported across state lines.

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 Mitchell Police Department.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Nash prosecuted the case.

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