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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 26, 2023

Clancy Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Meth Trafficking, Firearm Crimes

GREAT FALLS — A Clancy man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine and possessing a homemade firearm was sentenced on May 25 to 15 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Matthew Phillip Hamper, 43, pleaded guilty in October 2022 to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of an unregistered firearm.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that in 2021, law enforcement learned that Hamper, who was on state supervision, was selling meth in the Helena area and identified him as the supplier in several controlled purchases. Montana probation officers conducted a search of Hamper’s home and an RV parked next to the main house. Inside the RV, officers found nearly four pounds of meth and several firearms, including a homemade single shot “slap gun.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the “slap gun” met the definition of a destructive device and that it was not registered in the National Firearms Regulation and Transfer Record.

A slap gun.

Slap gun. Photo: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey K. Starnes prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Missouri River Drug Task Force, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and Montana Probation and Parole.

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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