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Press Release

Grand Junction Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Being Felon In Possession Of A Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Defendant charged as part of larger investigation into methamphetamine trafficking along the Western Slope

DENVER – Michael Batt, age 46, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marcia S. Krieger to serve 29 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Division Special Agent in Charge William T. McDermott announced.  Batt appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody and was remanded at the hearing’s conclusion. 

Batt and four others were indicted by a federal grand jury on December 12, 2016.  Batt pled guilty on April 20, 2018.  He was sentenced today, September 10, 2018, in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Two other defendants were sentenced to 113 months, and 57 months, respectively, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  Two additional defendants will be sentenced later this year. 

According to the stipulated facts contained in Batt’s plea agreement, Batt was involved with a number of other individuals involved in the trafficking of methamphetamine along the Western Slope of Colorado.  Beginning in November 2015, the Grand Junction DEA and the Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force began an investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization based in Mesa County, Colorado.  Agents identified Manuel Arias and Maria Serna as a husband and wife team who were methamphetamine distributors in the Grand Junction, Colorado area.  Serna and Arias were also known to deal in firearms.  The investigation utilized confidential sources, undercover agents, surveillance and wiretaps.

On September 14, 2016, an undercover agent purchased two firearms from Serna and Arias.  One firearm was a .223 Tavor rifle and the other was a Highpoint 9mm handgun.  The .223 Tavor rifle was a semiautomatic firearm capable of accepting a large capacity magazine. 

The investigation showed that Serna and Arias had obtained both firearms and an accompanying magazine from Michael Batt.  Michael Batt is prohibited from possessing firearms due to multiple prior felony convictions.  Before Batt provided the firearms to Serena and Arias, the .223 Tavor had been involved in an accidental shooting; the juvenile who fired the accidental shot lived near to Batt and delivered the rifle and magazine to him the day of the accidental shooting, on August 31, 2016.  The next day, September 1, 2016, Batt delivered both firearms and the magazine to Arias.  Batt was supposed to receive $2,500 from Serna and Arias for the firearms, but he never received the money.

William McDermott, Special Agent In Charge of the DEA Denver Field Division said, “The very powerful addiction of methamphetamine is a major drug problem on the Western Slope.  Methamphetamine is actively destroying lives and ravaging our rural communities throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.  As seen in this case, guns go hand-in-hand with those who are involved with the distribution of methamphetamine.”

This case was investigated by the DEA Denver Division, including agents in Grand Junction as well as agents and officers of the Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force.  The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Hautzinger.


Jeff Dorschner
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax

Updated September 10, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: CASE NUMBER: 16-cr-00377