Lonnie R. Peck Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on March 12, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, LONNIE R. PECK, a 41-year-old resident of Columbus, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm and possession of stolen firearms. Sentencing is set for June 18, 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:
On January 29, 2008, a Billings Police Department detective reported that a cabin belonging to a relative had been burglarized. This report was made to the Stillwater County Sheriffs Office. Listed among the items stolen were five firearms.
As the investigation proceeded, PECK was identified as a likely suspect. Because the investigation stalled, the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office decided to run an ad in the local newspaper asking anyone if they had purchased items from PECK. The ad netted several responses.
One response was from an individual who told deputies that he bought three firearms from PECK, probably in January of 2008. The three firearms were identified as two Marlin Model 60 .22 rifles and a Sears Model 25 .22 rifle. The individual stated he had traded one of the Marlin rifles to a man who has since moved to Oregon; his dad pawned the Sears rifle at a pawn shop; and he gave the other Marlin rifle to the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office.
Through a pawn transaction tracking program, law enforcement learned PECK had pawned the other two stolen firearms on January 16, 2008.
On January 30, 2008, PECK attempted to reclaim the stolen Marlin .30-30 rifle from the pawn shop. On the ATF 4473 form, he falsely stated that he was not a convicted felon, while in fact, he has had multiple felony convictions in Texas.
PECK 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 Stillwater County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Billings Police Department.
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A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.