DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

North Dakota Man Charged with Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Person

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Mandan, North Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

Joel Dean Kraft, Jr., age 34, was indicted on December 8, 2020. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes on February 12, 2021, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered, and the firearm involved in the offense may be forfeited.

The Indictment alleges that on May 25, 2020, Kraft, then being an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and knowing he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance, knowingly did possess a handgun in Walworth County, South Dakota.

The charge is merely an accusation and Kraft 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:

The investigation is being conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the City of Mobridge Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook is prosecuting the case.

Kraft was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not been set.


St. Paul Field Division