DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Dennis R. Holmes
, United States Attorney

Rapid City Man Sentenced to Federal Prison on Firearm Charge

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Judge.

Maurice “Mo” Wilford, age 34, was sentenced on June 4, 2021, to seven years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

The conviction stems from Wilford, a previously convicted felon, who is prohibited from possessing firearms, unlawfully possessing four rifles and a pistol in August 2017 during a traffic stop at Rapid City.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Rapid City Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman prosecuted the case.

Wilford was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

St. Paul Field Division