For Immediate Release
Billings Felon Admits Illegal Possession of Firearm
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Billings felon who was on state probation and led law enforcement on a vehicle chase before crashing admitted to illegally possessing a firearm that was found in the vehicle, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Christopher Samuel Fear, 38, pleaded guilty to prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Fear faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for March 27, 2024. Fear was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that on Jan. 11, after 2 a.m., a Montana Highway Patrol officer attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle for traveling 85 mph in a 65-mph speed zone. The trooper activated his emergency lights, but the driver of the vehicle accelerated and fled. The vehicle eventually crashed into a fence in Billings. Officers approached the vehicle and saw that it was empty. Officers noticed a pistol on the floorboard and found Fear hiding under the front end of the vehicle. Fear claimed others were in the vehicle but refused to identify them, and there was no evidence of other occupants. Fear was on state probation at the time for a drug conviction and had an outstanding probation violation arrest warrant. Law enforcement later searched the vehicle and found 216 fentanyl pills, 20 grams of methamphetamine and baggies and a loaded .357-caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek is prosecuting the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force conducted the investigation.
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.