DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Michael W. Cotter
, United States Attorney
Contact: Keri Leggett

Former Montana Federal Prosecutor Receives ATF Award

HELENA – The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has awarded a former Montana federal prosecutor the ATF Honor Award for her work on a multi-defendant operation that convicted 22 defendants in federal court in 2012 and 2013. Marcia Hurd, a former United States Assistant Attorney in Billings, Montana, prosecuted a series of cases as part of "Operation Billings Area Criminals (BAC)," a one-year, multi-agency covert investigation focusing on identifying and investigating the criminal activity of violent offenders in the Billings area. BAC was a collaborative effort between the ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshal’s Service, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Billings Department and Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.

Following several 2009 and 2010 shootings in the Billings area associated with illegal narcotic and firearm activity, the ATF launched operation BAC. ATF personnel planned and executed a long-term undercover operation at a business in Billings. During the operation, undercover personnel infiltrated criminal organizations in the Billings community, stopped planned criminal activity from being commenced, stopped the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and prescription pills, and took 52 unlawfully-possessed guns off the streets.

In addition to the federal prosecutions, the work of the undercover personnel involved in BAC resulted in the capture of Cleveland Boyer, a suspect in the murder of Danny Valenzuela. Valenzuela was shot outside a downtown Billings convenient store in 2010. Within 24 hours of the homicide, ATF personnel were able to put a plan in place, execute the plan, and take Boyer into custody in Bozeman, Montana. Boyer was charged with the murder of Danny Valenzuela in Yellowstone County District Court. ATF agents assisted in the trial by providing testimony. Boyer was ultimately convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

"Operation BAC is a testament to the profound power of agency collaboration," said Michael Cotter, U.S. Attorney in the District of Montana. "Law enforcement identified a dangerous and escalating situation in our community and battled it head on. This award is a distinct honor for Ms. Hurd and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana."

"She worked tirelessly prosecuting and managing the legal aspects of this long-term and complex investigation," said Ken Bray, Resident Agent in Charge of ATF in Montana. "Ms. Hurd’s substantial efforts have made the Billings area a safer place to live. We are proud to present her with this award."

Hurd is currently working in D.C. serving as Counsel to the Director in the Office of Tribal Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice. She received the award during the 18th Annual ATF Awards Ceremony on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at ATF National Headquarters in Washington, DC.

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Denver Field Division