Livingston Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Firearms Offense
BILLINGS – Joseph Alan Nyhart, a 35-year-old resident of Livingston, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison followed by 3 years supervised release after pleading guilty to being a prohibited person in possession of firearms in December. U.S. District Judge Susan Watters handed down the sentence.
In May 2016, Nyhart and his codefendant Austin Gottfried Schwarz, both prohibited from possessing firearms, were arrested after a lengthy, high-speed chase with law enforcement. Nyhart was the passenger. It was immediately obvious to the officers that both were under the influence of a drug. The officers seized two loaded rifles from the stolen truck. The officers determined that either Nyhart or Schwarz loaded the rifles after they stole the truck.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Godfrey and Paulette Stewart and investigated by the Missouri River Drug Task Force, Montana Probation and Parole, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Park County Sheriff’s Office, Stillwater Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, and Columbus Police Department.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime. Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.