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Press Release

Billings felon sentenced to more than five years in prison for illegal possession of firearm

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

BILLINGS — A Billings man with two prior federal felony convictions was sentenced today to five years and 11 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised released, for illegally possessing a firearm, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Robert John Bigback, 28, pleaded guilty in July to prohibited person in possession of a firearm or ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

The government alleged in court documents that on March 9, Bigback’s mother found him sleeping in her house with a gun next to his head. His father brought the firearm, a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol, to the United States Federal Probation Office. When Bigback woke up, his mother saw him frantically looking for something where the gun had been. Bigback told his mother he had been using methamphetamine, was paranoid and thought people were after him. Bigback had prior federal felony convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for distribution of meth, and he was prohibited from possessing firearms. Bigback possessed the gun while he was on federal supervised release for the federal convictions. The gun he possessed was stolen, although there was no indication he was involved in the theft.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Probation Office and Montana Division of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated November 15, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-428