MISSOULA — A Missoula man who admitted to illegally possessing firearms after law enforcement recovered a high-capacity AR-15 rifle and ammunition from his vehicle and nine other firearms and a pipe bomb at his residence was sentenced today to 46 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Paul Joseph Richter, 58, pleaded guilty in February to prohibited person in possession of firearms and ammunition.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.
In court documents, the government alleged that in November 2021, the Missoula Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received an anonymous tip that Richter was a felon in possession of weapons. fire. Richter was convicted of a federal felony in Montana for a felon in possession of a firearm. Officers saw Richter carrying what appeared to be a rifle in his residence, then later leaving and going to the Veterans Administration clinic. While Richter was at the clinic, officers looked out the windows of Richter’s vehicle and saw an AR-type rifle on the front passenger floorboard. Officers detained Richter when he left the clinic. Richter told officers he had eight guns and about 5,000 rounds at his home. Richter also said he recently completed federal oversight and did not believe in the idea that his gun rights should be taken away from him. He told officers he thought he would never be called again. Any normal person would be screwed, but not me.
Officers executed search warrants on Richter’s residence and vehicle and recovered an AR-15 rifle near three magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds for the weapon, 25 rounds of .223 ammunition and other vehicle ammunition. From Richter’s residence, officers recovered nine firearms, assorted ammunition, a suspected PVC pipe bomb and a suspected smoke grenade.
Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a US Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crimes motivated by meth trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses fire and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.