DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 21, 2023
Jesse Laslovich
, United States Attorney
Contact: Clair Johnson Howard

Columbia Falls Felon Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Illegal Possession of Firearm

MISSOULA, Mont. — A Columbia Falls man with multiple felony convictions was sentenced on July 20 to 15 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for illegally possessing a loaded shotgun, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Christopher Glenn Lakey, 35, pleaded guilty in March to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. In sentencing Lakey, the court applied an enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which provides that a defendant convicted of felon in possession is subject to a mandatory sentence of 15 years of imprisonment if the defendant has three prior convictions for a serious drug offense or a violent felony.

The government alleged in court documents that on Jan. 18, 2022, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office learned that Lakey was leaving Columbia Falls in a pickup truck and may have  weapons in his possession. Deputies knew about an outstanding federal warrant for Lakey and located the truck. Lakey fled from law enforcement, driving at more than 100 mph toward Whitefish. During his flight, Lakey threw a stolen 12-gauge shotgun out the window. The shotgun was recovered the next day from the side of the road. The shotgun had one round chambered and four in the tube. Two 12-gauge shells were found during a probation search of his abandoned truck. Lakey had prior felony convictions for criminal endangerment, burglary and robbery and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The FBI, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Probation and Parole, Whitefish Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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.


Denver Field Division