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Pennington County’s assistant attorney general will take over after State’s Attorney Mark Vargo is appointed as South Dakota’s attorney general.

Lara Roetzel was sworn in as acting state’s attorney Tuesday morning by Judge Craig Pfeifle.

“I am honored and delighted to be able to serve my community in this role in Mr. Vargo’s absence,” Roetzel said in the press release. “Pennington County should expect strong advocacy and prosecution under my direction.”

Governor Kristi Noem announced Vargo’s nomination Tuesday morning.

Roetzel has been at law for 26 years, serving as a prosecutor most of the time. Since 2009, she has served as the Chief Assistant State Attorney for Pennington County. During that time, she litigated hundreds of homicides, sexual assaults, and other high-profile cases, and acted as the office’s administrator.

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Roetzel graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1993 and Creighton School of Law in 1996. She was South Dakota’s Attorney of the Year in 2017.

Vargo said in a separate press release that he plans to return to his elected office after his term as attorney general ends on Jan. 6, 2023.

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