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Montana man pleads guilty to illegal drug and firearms charges

MISSOULA, Mont. — A Montana man pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully possessing marijuana and cocaine, and various firearms.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana. The investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Northwest Drug Task Force.

Mark Lawrence Wilson, a 45-year-old resident of Big Fork, was arraigned and pleaded guilty to unlawful drug user in possession of firearms and ammunition. Sentencing is set for Feb. 20.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

  • On Nov. 8, 2012, Wilson, an unlawful drug user of marijuana and cocaine, possessed 12 firearms and more than 5,200 rounds of ammunition in Flathead County.
  • On Nov. 8, 2012, law enforcement executed search warrants on Wilson's car and Flathead County residence as the result of a four-month investigation regarding Wilson's using and distributing cocaine.
  • Law enforcement located two handguns and a shotgun during the search warrant execution on Wilson's 2003 Chevy Tahoe that Wilson was driving at the time of his arrest. One of those handguns was a FN 5.7 x 28mm. The FN handgun appeared to be the same gun that Wilson brandished during a cocaine sale of two grams for $200 Nov. 2, 2012. Law enforcement also located three FN 5.7 x 28mm magazines. These magazines contained 44 rounds of FN 5.7 x 28mm ammunition.
  • Law enforcement at Wilson's Flathead County residence also located nine firearms, 5,235 rounds of ammunition, two bags of marijuana, suspected cocaine and LSD, one digital scale, and $1,550 cash.
  • Law enforcement recovered more than 5,200 rounds of coordinating ammunition at Wilson's Flathead County residence. The types of ammunition recovered include shotgun shells, .45-caliber ammunition, 9mm ammunition, 7.62 x 39mm ammunition, .223-caliber ammunition, .300 win mag ammunition, .22-caliber ammunition, and .357-caliber ammunition. There were more than 3,300 rounds of the 7.62 x 39mm and the .223-caliber ammunition. Law enforcement also recovered three, 30-round .223 magazines, and three, AK 7.62 x 39mm, 30-round magazines.
  • During this time and before, Wilson regularly used marijuana and cocaine. Witnesses reported to law enforcement that Wilson regularly sold and used these substances.

Wilson faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.