Illegal possession of gun sends Billings felon to prison for 30 months
A Billings felon who was on probation when officers found him wearing a bandana over his face and a carrying semi-automatic rifle wrapped in a blanket as he walked down a residential street was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said Wednesday in a news release.
Fermin Joseph Vasquez, 39, pleaded guilty in May to prohibited person in possession of a firearm, the release said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office outlined the series of events leading up to the sentencing:
The government alleged in court documents that on April 27, 2021, in Billings, a 911 caller spotted Vasquez walking down a residential street with his entire face concealed by a bandana with eyeholes cut out, wearing a black jumpsuit and carrying what appeared to be a shotgun or rifle wrapped in a blanket.
When he saw officers approach, Vasquez began doing lunges with the gun over his shoulders, the news release said. Officers suspected Vasquez was under the influence of drugs. Officers disarmed and handcuffed Vasquez. Vasquez admitted he was a felon and on probation, according to the news release. The gun was a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. Vasquez had four prior felony convictions and was on supervision at the time he possessed the firearm.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Patten prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Billings Police Department conducted the investigation.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided.