(STL.News) – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.
Austin Bennett, age 22, was charged on September 10, 2019. Bennett appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on October 11, 2019, and pleaded not guilty to the charge. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charge relates to Bennett, a previously convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing firearms, unlawfully possessing a semi-automatic pistol in July 2019 at Rapid City. The charge is merely an accusation and Bennett is 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.
The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Rapid City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Patterson is prosecuting the case.
Bennett was detained pending trial. A trial date has not been set.