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Man Pleads Guilty To Illegal Firearms Possession

A Helena man previously convicted of felony assault with a weapon pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally possessing a loaded AR-15 rifle in his vehicle on the grounds of the Montana State Capitol.

Joshua Nzeyimana, 23, agreed to plead guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, the charge under which he was indicted in January, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana.

According to federal investigators, an officer found the rifle while conducting a probation search of his vehicle on State Capitol grounds on Dec. 3. He had previously been convicted of two felonies, making it illegal for him to possess a firearm, and was listed in law enforcement databases as being an absconder.

He told investigators he had someone else buy the gun for him since he knew he could not and that he had also shot one round in an open field near a park.

Nzeyimana is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 1. He will remain in custody at least until then, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for the charge, but prosecutors will ask for a slight reduction under sentencing guidelines because Nzeyimana admitted to the crime.

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