News and Press Releases

Joseph H. Dust, Jr. Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on February 11, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSEPH H. DUST, JR., age 28, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for May 13, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In 2004, DUST was convicted of a felony drug charge. After revocation of his initial sentence, DUST was eventually paroled and put under the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections.

In May 2008, DUST was being supervised as a parolee through Alternatives, Inc. and allowed to live in a transitional living program in Billings.

On May 11, 2008, Alternatives was informed that DUST had drugs in his residence. Staff members searched DUST'S residence. Inside a safe, a firearm, a digital scale, two baggies of marijuana and $990 in cash were recovered. The firearm was identified as a Taurus PT 100 AFS. .40 S&W semi-automatic pistol which had been reported as stolen.

DUST faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Department of Corrections, Alternatives, Inc., Billings Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.




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