Helena Man Admits Illegal Possession of Stolen Gunpowder in Pawn Shop Investigation
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: January 12, 2022

GREAT FALLS — A Helena man admitted to an ammunitions crime today after he was accused of assisting a Helena pawn shop in the sale of 88 pounds of stolen gunpowder, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Douglas Wayne Sillivan, 70, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging him with prohibited person in possession of ammunition. Sillivan faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for April 28. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sillivan was released pending sentencing.

In court documents, the government alleged that an undercover investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of Modern Pawn & Consignment, Inc., a federal firearms licensee and located in Helena, led to various charges against multiple defendants. After a July 2021 press release about the case, an East Helena resident contacted the ATF’s Helena Office to tell agents that the resident believed he or she may have purchased stolen gunpowder from Isaiah Morsette, a co-defendant who served as the pawn shop’s firearms and ammunition expert, in late February or early March 2021. The resident turned over about 88 pounds of gunpowder that had been taken from Montana Outdoor Sports, a theft that indirectly began the investigation into Modern Pawn. Sillivan was present for the transaction at Modern Pawn and helped the resident load the gunpowder into the resident’s vehicle. Sillivan has a felony conviction in Montana for sexual assault and was prohibited from possessing ammunition.

Morsette pleaded guilty to firearms charges in the case and is pending sentencing.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.