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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 25, 2010

Contact: Craig W. Roegner

Special Agent/Public Information Officer

Cell: (303) 746-2506

Office: (303) 844-7399

Felon, Fugitive Sentenced for Possession of a Machine Gun

Helena, Mont. — The United States Attorney’s Office and John F. Ryan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) jointly announced that during a federal court session in Helena on March 23, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, Zollie Louis Byrd, a 55-year-old resident of South Carolina, who was a prior convicted felon and fugitive from justice, was sentenced to 68 months confinement for the illegal possession of a machine gun.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On January 13, 2009, Byrd was convicted in South Carolina for possession of machineguns, thereby prohibiting from possession of any firearms. On September 1, 2009, Broadwater County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call that someone had hit a fence with their vehicle and left the scene in Townsend, Mont. On September 2, 2009, Byrd was interviewed and admitted that he had recently been convicted for possession of machineguns. He stated he was traveling alone and all of the recovered firearms belonged to him. He also admitted that most of the firearms recovered were partially manufactured by him as he customized the firearms for his own use. Byrd stated that the Tec 9 was full-auto, meaning that when he held the trigger down, it fired as long as he depressed the trigger and would only stop when released. During the investigation, twenty (20) other firearms and 3,000 rounds of related ammunition were also recovered from Byrd’s motor home.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office and the ATF Helena Field Office. Ryan stated This conviction was the result of the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office deputies and ATF agents working side by side to keep dangerous weapons of the street of our communities.

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