News and Press Releases

Jesse Costa Perez Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on August 21, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JESSE COSTA PEREZ, a 44-year-old resident of Hardin, appeared for sentencing. PEREZ was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 15 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

PEREZ was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

PEREZ is a convicted Montana felon, presently on probation and supervised by the Montana Department of Corrections. This conviction prohibits him from possession of firearms.

On January 20, 2009, PEREZ pawned a Ruger Single Six .22 caliber revolver at First National Pawn in Billings.

On January 29, 2009, PEREZ returned to the pawn shop and attempted to reacquire the firearm. At this time, he filled out the required Firearms Transaction Record Form. PEREZ falsely answered "NO" where he was asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony. The NICS background check first delayed then denied the transaction. The probation office became aware of the incident and a referral was made to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Personnel at the store identified PEREZ as the person who made the false statement on the form.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that PEREZ will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, PEREZ does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Probation and Parole Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."



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