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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 1, 2022

Billings Felon Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Possession of Firearms

MISSOULA – A Billings man who admitted to illegally possessing firearms after having been convicted of a felony was sentenced today to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Michael Russell Torres, 30, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

The government alleged in court documents that Torres was convicted of a felony drug crime in New York in 2013 and did not regain his right to possess firearms. In March 2021, Missoula Police officers responded to a citizen’s complaint and found Torres outside of a vehicle. Torres told officers he had a firearm on him. When officers placed Torres in handcuffs, a loaded, 9mm caliber pistol that had been under his shoulder fell to the ground. About a year later, law enforcement officers served an arrest warrant on Torres in Billings and found a .40 caliber pistol in his front waistband during a search.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Missoula Police Department and Billings Police Department.

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.

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