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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 19, 2023

Possession of Unregistered Shortened Shotgun Sends East Helena Man to Prison for More Than Two Years

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — An East Helena man who admitted to possessing an unregistered shortened shotgun was sentenced today to two years and three months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Joshua Alan Roberts-Sprinkle, 36, pleaded guilty in May to possession of an unregistered firearm.

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

The government alleged in court documents that on Oct. 27, 2022, Roberts-Sprinkle possessed three firearms—a loaded AR-style rifle, a shortened shotgun and a loaded .40-caliber handgun, when law enforcement arrested him on an outstanding warrant in East Helena. Officers located the firearms, ammunition, a glass container with methamphetamine residue and a ballistic vest when they executed a search warrant on his vehicle. A Savage Arms/Stevens shotgun, model 94, .410-caliber, with a shortened stock and barrel, was located in the trunk. The recovered shotgun had a barrel length of approximately 14 inches and an overlength of approximately 21 ½ inches. The shotgun was originally manufactured with an overall length of 44 inches and a barrel length of 28 inches. The shortened shotgun was not registered as required by law and the possession of it is a violation of federal firearms laws.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, East Helena Police Department and Helena Police Department 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.

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