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Helena man admits to possessing stolen gunpowder in pawn shop probe

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A 70-year-old Helena man admitted Tuesday to assisting a Helena pawn shop in the sale of 88 pounds of stolen gunpowder, according to U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson.

sillivan.jfif

Douglas Wayne Sillivan

Douglas Wayne Sillivan pleaded guilty of being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a news release. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine with three years supervised release. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris set sentencing for April 28.

Sillivan pleaded guilty to crimes connected to an investigation of Modern Pawn & Consignment in Helena. Owners Isaiah Maurice Morsette and Catherine Suzanne Morsette both pleaded guilty to several felonies including making false statements in a firearms transaction for Catherine and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm for Isaiah.

Court documents state that after a 2021 press release about the case was released, an East Helena resident contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Helena office to tell agents they may have purchased stolen gunpowder from Isaiah Morsette. The resident turned over 88 pounds of gunpowder that had been taken from Montana Outdoor Sports, a theft that indirectly began the investigation into Modern Pawn, authorities said.

Morsette.jfif

Isaiah Morsette

Sillivan was present at the transaction and helped the resident load the gunpowder into a vehicle, authorities said. Sillivan has a felony conviction in Montana for sexual assault and was prohibited from possessing ammunition.

Isaiah Morsette's sentencing in pending, authorities said.

According to the initial press release, 34-year-old Richard Joe Munoz was also charged in relation to this incident.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and was investigated by the ATF.

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