News release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
MISSOULA — A Belgrade man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine and to illegally possessing 16 firearms that were found in a crawl space in his residence was sentenced today to five years in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, Jesse Laslovich said.
Christopher Lee Wylie, 40, pleaded guilty in September 2022 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and to prohibited person in possession of firearms.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
In court documents, the government alleged that the Missouri River Drug Task Force, while investigating drug trafficking, stopped a vehicle in September 2021 when the vehicle returned to Montana from California. Wylie was a passenger. Law enforcement located 5.24 pounds of meth in the vehicle, and Wylie admitted he traveled with the driver to California to obtain drugs to sell. Wylie admitted to selling drugs from his home in Belgrade. In addition, the government alleged that in February 2022, law enforcement served a search warrant on Wylie’s residence and located 16 firearms and ammunition in the crawl space and a small amount of heroin, meth and cocaine in his residence. Wylie admitted in a prior interview that he used meth and “blues,” which usually refers to counterfeit oxycodone that often contains fentanyl.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Missouri River Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.