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Press Release

Butte man sentenced for meth, firearms found in truck

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

MISSOULA—A Butte man who admitted to having methamphetamine and firearms in his pickup truck after a police officer found him asleep and slumped over the steering wheel while the vehicle was running was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced Joseph Patrick Walsh, 40, to 72 months and one day in prison, to run concurrent to a state sentence, and to five years of supervised release.

Walsh pleaded guilty in October to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Walsh was indicted after a Manhattan Police Department officer on Feb. 11, 2018 conducted a welfare check on a suspicious pickup truck that was parked in Manhattan. The officer found the truck running with Walsh slumped over the steering wheel, asleep, the prosecution said.

The officer woke up Walsh, who said he hadn’t been drinking but was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Walsh acknowledged there was marijuana and meth in the center console. He opened the console and handed the officer two 9mm semi-automatic pistols and a glove, which contained 53.2 grams of pure meth. Fifty three grams of meth is the equivalent of about 424 doses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Racicot prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Manhattan 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 March 21, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods