Missoula man sentenced to prison for illegally possessing firearm
MISSOULA — A Missoula man, who admitted illegally possessing a firearm that he discharged in his apartment, was sentenced today to 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release, said Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson.
Brandon Mitchell Darrah, 35, pleaded guilty on Aug. 20 to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
The prosecution said in court documents that in December 2019, Darrah was on state probation for a felony drug conviction and was being supervised by the Montana Department of Corrections. On Dec. 11, 2019, Missoula police officers responded to a call of a discharged firearm and, after interviewing a witness, determined that the shot came from Darrah’s apartment. An officer located Darrah on the street near the apartment building. Darrah admitted the shot was fired from his apartment but denied being the shooter. Darrah said the shooter ran off. His statement conflicted with a witness’s statement that Darrah was alone.
Darrah’s probation officer authorized a search of his apartment, and police officers found a revolver, a holster, ammunition, spent casings, gun cleaning accessories and drug paraphernalia. The handgun and some of the ammunition were found in a shoe box in a crawl space above the bathroom.
Darrah admitted to law enforcement that the firearm belonged to him and said the firearm discharge in his apartment was accidental. Darrah also admitted he hid the gun in the box found in the ceiling and that he had lied to police officers. Darrah said he knew he was not supposed to have the firearm.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee Peterson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missoula Police Department, FBI and Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.
This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.