MISSOULA – A convicted felon who admitted possessing a loaded handgun found in a traffic stop in Gallatin County was sentenced today to 15 months in prison and to three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Ruben Francisco Federico. 23, of Belgrade, pleaded guilty on Nov. 10, 2020 to prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
In court documents filed in the case, the prosecution alleged that on July 6, 2020, Federico, a convicted felon on state supervision, possessed a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol during a traffic stop in Gallatin County. A sheriff’s deputy clocked a vehicle going 109 mph in a 65 mph zone and stopped it after a short pursuit. Federico, the driver and sole occupant, was moving all over as the deputy approached. The loaded pistol was located during a probation search under the back-passenger seat, but within easy grabbing distance. Federico was convicted of a felony in 2018.
The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Department of Corrections’ Probation and Parole and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.
This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.