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Press Release

Malta man admits illegal possession of silencer

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

GREAT FALLS — A Malta man admitted today to illegally possessing a silencer after law enforcement served a search warrant at his residence and found numerous firearms, a suppressor, drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Deric Ron Welch, 36, pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered silencer. Welch faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Oct. 23. Welch was released pending further proceedings.

In court documents, the government alleged that on May 27, 2023 in Malta, law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call at Welch’s residence, and a state search warrant was obtained for the residence. Law enforcement recovered numerous firearms, one suppressor, drug paraphernalia and meth. An investigation determined that the silencer found in the search was a device for silencing or muffling a firearm and was not registered as required by federal law.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Phillips County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.

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. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated June 18, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-155