GREAT FALLS — A Butte felon was sentenced Thursday to 38 months in prison and three years of supervised release for illegally possessing a gun, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Joseph Alfred Edward Lytell Torres, 30, pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2020 to prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Torres was detained.
In court documents filed by the prosecution, officers with Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement responded on May 12, 2020, to an area behind a Butte residence where a caller informed officers she had seen a male driving a motorcycle with a gun in his hand and heard a “pop, pop.” Officers found a vehicle with a flat tire in the area and two spent 9mm shell casings on the ground. Officers recovered bullet fragments in the wheel and on the ground. Officers contacted the owner of the vehicle, who said she was sitting in the vehicle when it was shot. The owner identified Torres as the shooter.
Law enforcement officers and Montana Probation and Parole officers located Torres two days later at his residence and arrested him. Officers search the garage and found a 9mm pistol under a stack of tires. At the time, Torres was a convicted felon under state supervision.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement and Montana Department of Corrections’ Probation and Parole.
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.