DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of So uth Dakota

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 28, 2020
Ronald A. Parsons, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Ace Crawford

Aberdeen Man Indicted on Firearm Charges

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that an Aberdeen, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

Juan Shaw Smith, age 28, was indicted on August 11, 2020. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on August 28, 2020, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 10 years in federal prison and 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 March 26, 2020, Smith having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, and knowing he had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, and being an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and knowing he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance did knowingly possess a firearm, which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce and foreign commerce.

The charges are merely accusations and Smith 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.

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.

The investigation is being conducted by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore is prosecuting the case.

Smith was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. A trial date has not been set.

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St. Paul Field Division