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Press Release

Billings Man Convicted of Felon in Possession of Firearms

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

BILLINGS – Following a two day federal trial, a Montana jury found Ryan Anthony Cislo, most recently of Billings, guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms on Thursday.  Judge Susan Watters presided over the trial.  Sentencing has been set for March 23, 2016.

Cislo was indicted by a grand jury in December of 2014 on two counts, which included the felon in possession charge as well as a possession of stolen firearms charge.  At trial, the government introduced evidence that in June of 2014, Cislo was being supervised for a 2009 felony conviction from Flathead County.  He had been released from custody in May of 2014, and was periodically living in the home of his girlfriend’s mother between May 7 and June 9.  The homeowner called Cislo’s probation officer on June 9 to report that Cislo had shown her three handguns and requested that the officer come to her home to search Cislo’s belongings and remove the firearms.

Four officers with Montana Probation and Parole responded and searched the room that Cislo had been using.  Cislo was not present during the search.  The officers found two handguns stuffed between the mattress and the box spring of the bed.  One of the guns was loaded and had a live round in the chamber.  The other contained a loaded magazine.  The officers also found a Sentry gun safe and a wallet containing Cislo’s driver’s license, Social Security card, and various credit cards.  Through a seam in the safe, the officers could see that it contained at least ammunition.

Because they had only found two of the three reported firearms, the officers called in an officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives to assist with the search.  The ATF officer pried open the gun safe and found a .22 caliber derringer inside along with multiple rounds of ammunition of varying caliber.  All together, the firearms included a Taurus .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a Hi-Point 9mm caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a Cobra .22 caliber derringer.

In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, Cislo denied ever living at the house in question or knowing anything about the firearms found there.  However, he had listed the address where the firearms were located as his residence on a monthly probation report from May 2014 and stated later in a jail call admitted at trial that he had stayed at the residence for at least ten nights.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Sullivan and Lori Suek.  The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and Montana Probation and Parole.

Updated December 14, 2015

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Press Release Number: MELISSA HORNBEIN, Public Information Officer, (406) 457-5277