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Press Release

Armed casino robbery sends Billings man to prison for 10 years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS—A Billings man convicted by a jury in the armed robbery of Dotty’s Casino last year was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,424 restitution, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

A jury in January found Antonio Francisco Gutierrez, 36, guilty of three counts, including robbery affecting commerce, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided in the case.

Prosecutors alleged that on Feb. 5, 2018, Gutierrez asked co-defendant, Christopher Esrey, to drive him to Dotty’s Casino, on Montana Sapphire Drive, near Shiloh Road, to meet a friend to “get some money.” The pair arrived at the casino at about 11:43 p.m. Esrey waited in the car while Gutierrez entered the casino wearing a hood, hat and facemask. He tried to open the inner door but it was locked. Gutierrez pushed a buzzer to summon a casino attendant, who motioned for him to remove his clothing before she unlocked the inner door.

Gutierrez mimed as if he was going to remove the items and the attendant opened the door and began walking back to her station, prosecutors alleged. When the attendant unlocked the door, Gutierrez stopped removing his face coverings, took a pistol from his coat pocket, cocked it and pointed it at the attendant’s back. The attendant, who was pregnant,  complied with Gutierrez’s instruction to empty the till.

Gutierrez got into the idling vehicle, and the attendant reported the robbery to the Billings Police Department. Officers located Gutierrez and Esrey at another casino.

Esrey pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and to three years of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin Rubich and Tom Godfrey prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Billings Police Department.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.





Clair Johnson Howard
Public Information Officer

Updated May 16, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods