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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Helena Felon Admits Illegal Possession of Loaded AR-15 Rifle in Vehicle on State Capitol Grounds

GREAT FALLS — A felon who was on listed as an absconder on a state of Montana webpage admitted today to illegally possessing a firearm after law enforcement found a loaded AR-15 style rifle in his vehicle on state capitol grounds, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

The defendant, Joshua Nzeyimana, 23, of Helena, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Nzeyimana faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for Aug. 1 and continued Nzeyimana’s detention pending further proceedings.

The government alleged that on Dec. 3, 2023, Nzeyimana, a convicted felon on state supervision, possessed a loaded AR-15 style rifle in his vehicle on the state capitol grounds in Helena. The rifle was found during a probation search of his vehicle. Nzeyimana was listed as an absconder in Montana Conweb. Nzeyimana admitted during an interview to possessing the rifle and had previously shot one round in open field near a park. Nzeyimana knew he could not legally possess the rifle, so he used another person to purchase it. Nzeyimana was convicted in state district court of felony criminal endangerment and felony assault with a weapon and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Montana Highway Patrol and Montana Probation and Parole 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.



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


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