BILLINGS - A Billings man who admitted possessing methamphetamine for distribution and to having a firearm was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison and five years of supervised release.
Gary Hollister Ainsworth, 34, pleaded guilty in October 2018 to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.
In court records filed in the case, the prosecution said that in April 2018, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a suspicious activity report at a storage facility in Billings. The person who made the report told deputies he had watched a man driving a Suzuki, later identified as Ainsworth, attempt to steal a vehicle off of a nearby lot and had followed Ainsworth to the storage facility. When deputies approached, Ainsworth tried to flee, but stopped and surrendered.
Deputies noted that Ainsworth had several active arrest warrants, was acting erratic and nervous and was wearing latex gloves. Deputies also saw a marijuana pipe, a handgun and a blow torch in plain view in the Suzuki. Deputies detained Ainsworth and impounded the vehicle.
An initial search of the vehicle, based on a warrant, by officers with the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force found only the handgun and drug paraphernalia.
Information from an anonymous source led to a second search of the vehicle, which resulted in agents finding about 54 grams of pure meth. Ainsworth subsequently admitted to law enforcement that he was dealing meth.
Ainsworth has prior felony convictions in Yellowstone County for drug possession and burglary, according to state prison records.