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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
Alison J. Ramsdell, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 19, 2024

Mission Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of a Firearm

PIERRE - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court, has sentenced a Mission, South Dakota, man convicted of Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm. The sentencing took place on April 15, 2024.

Vernon Robert Schmidt, a/k/a Sonny Bob Schmidt, age 38, was sentenced to two years and 11 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to a pay $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Schmidt was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2022.  He pleaded guilty on January 16, 2024.

The conviction stems from an incident that occurred on May 18, 2022, near Mission. On that date, law enforcement was looking for Schmidt based on an alleged domestic dispute that occurred earlier in the day at a residence near Mission. Schmidt was subsequently located at a different residence. A loaded 9 mm pistol was found in his possession.

Schmidt has three prior felony convictions in U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota. In 2005, he was convicted of Assaulting, Resisting, and Impeding a Federal Officer; in 2006, he was convicted of Escape; and in 2015, he was convicted of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury. As a result of these convictions, it is illegal for Schmidt to possess firearms or ammunition.  Schmidt will forfeit ownership of the firearm to the United States.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson prosecuted the case.   

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

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