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Press Release

Great Falls man sentenced to four years in prison for illegal possession of firearms

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

GREAT FALLS  — A Great Falls man who admitted to illegally possessing firearms while on supervision for prior felony convictions was sentenced today to four years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Zachary Paul Potts, 26, pleaded guilty in November 2022 to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The government alleged in court documents that in the fall of 2021, Potts was on state supervision for multiple felony convictions when he was stopped while driving a vehicle in Great Falls with a suspended license. During a probation search of the vehicle, law enforcement found a .357-caliber revolver in a backpack and a 9mm pistol under the driver’s seat. Potts told the officer he knew about the pistol and that he had used it in the past. The government further alleged that the backpack also contained a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, more than four grams of fentanyl powder, a scale and empty plastic baggies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration and Great Falls Police Department.

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 Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated April 11, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-116