THE U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA ANNOUNCES WITH FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT THE RESULTS OF THE YEAR LONG OPERATION DUBBED, BILLINGS AREA CRIMINALS” OR “BAC”.
United States Attorney Michael W. Cotter of the District of Montana, with representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF"), the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), the United States Marshal's Service, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, the Billings Police Department and Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito today announced at a press conference the results of ATF's Billings Area Criminals ("BAC") operation, a one-year covert investigation focusing on identifying and investigating the criminal activity of violent criminals in the Billings, Montana, area.
For approximately one year ATF personnel coordinated an undercover operation at a business location in Billings, Montana. During the operation undercover personnel were able to infiltrate criminal organizations in the Billings community; stop planned criminal activity from being commenced; stop the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and prescription pills; and take 52 guns off the streets.
As a result of the operation the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana was able to prosecute and convict 22 defendants. The sentences imposed in each of the 22 cases have ranged from 12 months and day up to 170 months. The six defendants that received the highest sentences in the case are as follows, the remaining 14 defendants are listed on the attachment to this release:
Ricky Dennis: Dennis had at least 12 prior misdemeanor and felony convictions at the time of his sentencing. Dennis was sentenced on April 11, 2013, to 73 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years supervised release for convictions of Felon in Possession (4 Counts) and Conspiracy to Commit a Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce.
Anthony Roll: Pled guilty to 8 Felon in Possession of a Firearm Counts; Conspiracy to Commit a Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce; Possession of a Stolen Firearm; Possession of a Firearm in Further of a Crime of Violence; 1 Count of Possession of Stolen Firearm; 2 Counts of Receipt of a Firearm While Under Criminal Information; and 2 Counts of Distribution of Ecstasy. Roll had at least 20 prior misdemeanor and felony convictions at the time of his sentencing. Roll was sentenced on October 11, 2012, to serve 170 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release.
Rodrick Gant: Convicted at trial of Conspiracy to Commit a Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce; 1 Count Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; 1 Count Possession of Gun by Person Convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence. Gant had at least 5 prior misdemeanor and felony convictions at the time of his sentencing. Jones was sentenced on August 30, 2012, to 106 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release.
Thaddeus Jones: Pled guilty to 1 Count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine; 2 Counts of Distribution of methamphetamine; 1 Count of Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; 11 Counts of Distribution or Attempted Distribution of Cocaine; and 1 Count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Jones had at least 20 prior misdemeanor and felony convictions and at least 15 pending misdemeanor and felony convictions in other courts at the time of his sentencing. Jones was sentenced on August 8, 2012, to 134 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release.
Richard Meza: Pled guilty Conspiracy to Commit a Robbery affecting Interstate Commerce and 1 Count of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Meza had at least 5 misdemeanor and felony convictions at the time of his sentencing. Meza was sentenced on July 12, 2012, to 103 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release.
Marvin Galloway: Pled guilty to 7 Counts of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm; 5 Counts of Possession of a Stolen Firearm; and 3 Counts of Distribution of Cocaine. Galloway had at least 7 prior misdemeanor and felony convictions at the time of his sentencing. Galloway was also on Montana state supervision at the time of the offenses of conviction. Galloway was sentenced on June 26, 2012, to serve 84 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
In addition to the federal prosecutions, the work of the personnel involved in BAC also resulted in the capture and assistance in the prosecution of Cleveland Boyer in Yellowstone County District Court. Boyer was charged in the murder of Danny Valenzuela in Billings, Montana. Based on the undercover nature of the BAC investigation, ATF personnel were able to put a plan in place, execute the plan and orchestrate the arrest of Boyer in Bozeman MT some 130 miles west of Billings. Boyer was recently tried in Yellowstone County District Court and convicted of deliberate homicide.
In response to the work of law enforcement in the BAC case, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, for the District of Montana, said, "The number one goal of law enforcement is public safety. Today, the Billings community is a better and safer place because of this operation and the members of law enforcement involved deserve the highest praise for their efforts. The undercover operation conducted by the ATF, with assistance from other law enforcement agencies in the community, was truly an example of what can be accomplished when all of a community's law enforcement assets are focused on making the town safer. The joint operation by ATF and others in this investigation removed more than 20 hardened and dangerous criminals from the streets of Billings, Montana and put them in federal prison."
ATF is committed to protecting the citizens of Montana by removing career criminals from our communities and putting them behind bars," said Andrew Traver, Special Agent in Charge of ATF's Denver Field Division. "We are passionate about this mission and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that we are successful."
The Montana Department of Justice is proud to be working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to find, apprehend, and convict dangerous criminals in the Billings area and throughout our state. I am committed to both continuing this partnership and finding new ways we can collaboratively tackle the state's top public safety challenges. We can't understate the threats posed to our communities by criminal conspiracies and the trafficking of illegal drugs and weapons. We may work for different agencies, but we're all Montanans and we're here to serve Montanans. Great things happen when we work together," said Attorney General Tim Fox.
U.S. Marshal for the District of Montana said, "This case is a perfect model of the commitment of working together at all levels of law enforcement and the merging of resources to put Montana Law Enforcement strides ahead on identifying and arresting offenders in our state."
This case again demonstrates that the collaboration of law enforcement in the Billings community is second to none," said Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, "the men and women of local, state and federal law enforcement have truly made our community safer through this operation."