Bigfork Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

By Beacon Staff

A 45-year-old Bigfork man admitted in federal court to using illegal drugs and possessing guns and ammunition.

Mark Lawrence Wilson pleaded guilty in U.S. Federal Court in Missoula on Nov. 7 to the charge of unlawful drug user in possession of firearms and ammunition.

According to the prosecution, Wilson, who is tagged as “an unlawful user of marijuana and cocaine,” had 12 guns and more than 5,200 rounds of ammunition while living in Flathead County.

Last November, law enforcement used a search warrant on Wilson’s car and home as part of a four-month investigation into his cocaine use and distribution. Investigators found two handguns and a shotgun in Wilson’s Chevy Tahoe, which he was driving at the time of the arrest. One of the guns, identified as an FN 5.7 x 28, was brandished during a $200, two-gram cocaine sale on Nov. 2, prosecutors say, and investigators found three magazines for the gun containing 44 cartridges.

The search warrants turned up nine more guns at Wilson’s residence, along with 5,235 rounds of ammunition, two bags of marijuana, suspected cocaine and LSD, one digital scale, and $1,550.

Prosecutors say Wilson was a regular cocaine and marijuana user before and at the time the search warrants were executed, and that he regularly sold drugs.

Wilson is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20, 2014. He faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Northwest Drug Task Force and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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