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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Montana

For Immediate Release

August 20, 2013

Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney

Contact: Victoria L. Francis, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana
(406) 247- 4633

Oney Joseph Baker Sentenced in U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session inGreat Falls, on August 16, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, ONEY JOSEPH BAKER, a 39-year-old resident of Great Falls, was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 210 months
  • Special Assessment: $100.00
  • Restitution: $4,775
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

BAKER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of firearms and an armed career criminal.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the governmentstated it would have proved at trial the following:

On August 17, 1999, BAKER was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 51 monthsimprisonment after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance,possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and distribution of a controlledsubstance. The sentence of imprisonment was to be followed by three years of supervisedrelease, wherein the court ordered BAKER to not own or possess a firearm.

On October 30, 2002, the Montana Eight Judicial District Court in Cascade Countysentenced BAKER for the crime of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Specifically, the court sentenced BAKER to three years to the Department of Corrections,and ordered Baker to not own, possess, or be in control of any firearms or deadly weapons. On April 27, 2007, the Montana Eighth Judicial District Court in Cascade Countysentenced BAKER for three felony convictions: assault with a weapon, theft, and robbery.

The three convictions were from different cases, however, they were resolved in one globalplea agreement and sentencing. The court sentenced BAKER to ten years imprisonment atthe Montana State Prison. It also specifically ordered that he “shall not own, possess, or bein control of any firearms or deadly weapons.”

On July 8, 2012, around 3:09 pm, Great Falls police officers were dispatched toBobo’s Casino for a report of an armed robbery. Officers arrived at Bobo’s and spoke withan employee of the casino. The employee said she had been throwing trash away when aman entered the casino through the east side door. She turned toward the man and hepointed a small black handgun at her head. The man, described as a Native American male,approximately 5'9" and 160 pounds, yelled, “give me the money, bitch!” The employeeemptied the money in her apron, which contained approximately $300 to $400 dollars incash. The man became upset and said, “that’s, not all there is, bitch!” The employeeopened the cash register. The register contained only loose change and the man tossed theregister in anger once he saw it did not contain any cash. He ran out of the same east sidedoor, got into a green minivan, and drove off at a high rate of speed.

The manager of Bobo’s Casino arrived shortly thereafter and pulled up thesurveillance video of the time of the robbery. Officers observed that the robbery took placeexactly as the employee had described. Detectives then began to investigate the robbery,and numerous tips were called in to the police department.

The next day a concerned citizen called the police and stated there was a suspiciousgreen minivan parked on the street that he had not seen the previous evening. Officersresponded to the report of the suspicious car. They believed the parked minivan matchedthe description of the minivan used in the robbery. After again viewing the surveillancevideo, the officers found the minivan in the video was clearly the minivan parked on thestreet.

Numerous other tips continued to be reported. The tips and further investigationindicated that BAKER had robbed the casino.

On July 18, 2012, law enforcement observed BAKER leave a house carrying a darkcolored piece of rolling luggage and a blue duffel bag. BAKER was with two otherindividuals. Law enforcement began to follow the car once BAKER drove away. At onepoint, BAKER tried to conceal the car by driving into an alley. A Deputy U.S. Marshal turnedon his top lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop and the car immediately fled at a high rateof speed through neighborhood streets.

The car stopped at an apartment complex and all three people fled on foot. Policecaught the other individuals, but BAKER had fled through the neighborhoods. Lawenforcement yelled at BAKER to stop running and he refused to stop. BAKER dropped theduffel bag near a garage as he ran. A neighbor recovered the duffel bag and provided it topolice. Three detectives finally apprehended BAKER who had to be held down by all threemen.

Detectives searched the duffel bag they recovered from BAKER, as well as thevehicle. The detectives recovered a Lorcin, model L380, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistolfrom the front passenger seat floorboard. This pistol had been in BAKER’s possession, andit contained seven rounds of .380 caliber ammunition, including one round that was in thechamber. A search of the duffel bag revealed a fully loaded Mossberg, model 500A, 12 gauge pump action shotgun. Law enforcement seized five rounds of 12 gauge ammunitionfrom the shotgun. Detectives also found 25 rounds of 20 gauge ammunition and 18 roundsof .380 caliber ammunition in the duffel bag.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelinesmandate that BAKER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federalsystem, BAKER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for “good behavior.” However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Great Falls Police Departmentand the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.