News and Press Releases

John Dwight Dehart Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on December 1, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JOHN DWIGHT DEHART, a 56-year-old resident of Troy, pled guilty to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for March 18, 2010. He is currently released on special conditions.

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

DEHART was a well-known drug user in the Lincoln County area. As a result of witness interviews and investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at DEHART'S Lincoln County residence on June 3, 2008. Four firearms, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and suspected marijuana was recovered.

The four firearms recovered from DEHART'S residence were a Norinco 7.62 SKS rifle, a Hi-Point .40 caliber pistol, a Ruger .22 caliber rifle, and a Marlin .22 caliber rifle.

In an interview the same day, DEHART admitted to being a long-time, long-term drug user. He stated that he is chemically dependent on pain relievers dating back to 1976, specifically loretab and oxycontin. He took 240 mg of oxycontin every day. DEHART also stated that he had used methamphetamine off and on since the 1980s to stay awake when he traveled.

During the interview, DEHART also discussed each firearm that was recovered - their acquisition and the use of each one. He had dropped the handgun after the police announced themselves.

Numerous witnesses would have testified that they observed DEHART using marijuana, methamphetamine, and/or oxycontin from 2005 through 2008. Many of the same witnesses observed the firearms either in the residence or being carried by DEHART.

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

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office 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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