GAVEL

A Fairview man has been convicted of federal firearms charges and will be sentenced in December. Lonnie Burdette Porter, 59, of Fairview was convicted of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm after a two-day trial in Billings this past week.

Porter was released on conditions pending sentencing which Judge Susan Watters set for Dec. 15, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. in Billings.

With the conviction, Porter faces the possibility of a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Federal prosecutors presented evidence that on Sept. 24, 2020, Porter contacted the Fairview Police Department to report that guns had been stolen from his home while he was out of town. At the time, the defendant acknowledged he was prohibited from possessing firearms due to his current probation.

Later that day, Montana Probation and Parole officials and Fairview Police Department officers searched Porter’s home. Once again the defendant acknowledged he was in possession of firearms and prohibited from doing so. As a result of the search, law enforcement officials discovered a hole in the floor under the defendant’s dryer which contained a number of firearms. Additional guns were located elsewhere in the house as well.

The search totaled thirty-eight firearms, ammunition and antique firearms taken from Porter’s home at that time.

The following January, eight more guns belonging to the defendant were recovered by the Fairview Police Department.

Porter is prohibited from possessing firearms because of a prior felony criminal felony conviction in Richland County, Montana.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin Rubich and Thomas Godfrey prosecuted the case which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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