For Immediate Release
Eagle Butte Man Sentenced on Firearm Charge
Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that an Eagle Butte, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on April 12, 2021, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.
Neil Blue Coat, age 35, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release, a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims fund in the amount of $100, and forfeiture of three handguns and ammunition.
Blue Coat was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 11, 2020. He pled guilty on January 11, 2021.
On July 14, 2017, in Eagle Butte, Blue Coat knowingly possessed a handgun while being a user of methamphetamine and marijuana. Blue Coat was also arrested on September 26, 2019, with two more handguns, marijuana, and several items of drug paraphernalia in Eagle Butte. The manufacturer’s serial number had been obliterated from one of the handguns.
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 was conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook prosecuted the case.
Blue Coat was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.