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Press Release


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

MISSOULA  — A 36-year-old Missoula man was sentenced today for possessing methamphetamine and over 3,500 fentanyl pills, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy sentenced Joseph Anthony Schrantz to 10 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.  The defendant pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances in April 2023.

“All Montanans know drugs and guns are a deadly combination and the amount of fentanyl Schrantz possessed in this case is staggering and alarming. Today’s sentence should send the message to criminals inclined to illegally possess guns and traffic dangerous drugs that we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring them to justice in our continuing efforts to protect our communities.” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

The government alleged in court documents that on July 13, 2022, Missoula Police Department officers responded to Downtown Pawn for a report of a male that stole a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun. Officers reviewed surveillance footage that showed Joseph Schrantz reaching over the counter, taking the firearm, and leaving the store. Later that day, officers recognized Schrantz driving a vehicle and initiated a traffic stop.  Schrantz confirmed he had stolen the gun and provided consent for officers to retrieve it from under the center console of the vehicle. Schrantz was also in possession of two small cork-topped glass bottles: one containing 82 round blue pills marked “M30”, the other containing a small amount of methamphetamine.  Lab testing reflected the pills were fentanyl and the meth was 100% pure. Law enforcement found another small baggie of meth and more than 100 additional fentanyl pills. In a key-code safe in the rear seat there were two large ziplock bags containing 3,451 fentanyl pills, one large ziplock bag containing 248 grams of 100% pure meth, distribution baggies, and a digital scale with residue. The center console held additional distribution baggies, and, on the floorboard, there was a black wallet with $734 in cash.  The vehicle was registered to Schrantz and another female. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla Painter prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Missoula Police Department, Montana Probation and Parole, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration.

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 September 12, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-339