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Press Release

Illegal possession of firearms sends Billings man to prison

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

BILLINGS—Billings resident William Thomas Fischer, Jr., was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release on Thursday for illegally possessing firearms, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Fischer, 58, pleaded guilty on Nov. 20 to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

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

The prosecution said that on July 2, 2018, a Billings Police Department officer conducted a traffic stop in which Fischer was the driver and was wanted on an arrest warrant. The officer saw Fischer place two small bindles of suspected methamphetamine in his mouth and removed Fischer from the vehicle in an attempt to prevent him from swallowing the bindles. Officers were unable to locate the bindles.

A BPD K9 dog gave a positive alert to the odor of narcotics, and the vehicle was seized pending a search warrant issued later the same day. During the search, officers found two firearms, a 12-gauge shotgun and an SKS semi-automatic rifle. Two days later, Fischer told a woman in a recorded call from jail that, “there were two guns in the car.”

Fischer was convicted in 2003 for felony possession of a firearm by an unlawful user and addict of a controlled substance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Godfrey prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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 22, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods