For Immediate Release
Illegal Gun Possession Sends Great Falls Felon Arrested After Standoff to Prison
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Great Falls felon who admitted to illegally possessing two firearms at his business following a standoff with law enforcement was sentenced today to 32 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Stephen Jeffrey Vogel, 35, pleaded guilty in May to prohibited person in possession of firearms.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
The government alleged in court documents that on Dec. 11, 2022, law enforcement attempted to conduct a welfare check on a woman, identified as Jane Doe, at a gas station near a business she shared with Vogel after receiving a report that Doe may have been assaulted and was attempting to hide. Officers arrived just after Doe left the gas station and crashed a vehicle in front of the business. Vogel was present but ignored commands from officers and locked himself inside the shared business. Doe, who had an injury on her forehead, reported that Vogel had threatened her with a firearm and assaulted her. Great Falls Police Department officers then engaged in a nearly three-hour standoff with Vogel before he peacefully surrendered. In a search of the business, officers located a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun hidden above ceiling tiles. A review of Vogel’s jail calls confirmed he hid the firearms knowing law enforcement would seize them if discovered. Vogel was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a 2013 felony conviction.
An assistant U.S. attorney prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Great Falls Police Department and Cascade County Sheriff’s Office 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 of Justice 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.