By Angel Wyrwas
A criminal firearms possession trial that was scheduled for the end of November in Billings was vacated when 28-year-old Eric Mitchell changed his plea to guilty in a U.S. Federal Court hearing November 14.
Mitchell was charged with possession of a firearm not registered in National Firearms Registration And Transfer Record and prohibited person in possession of a firearm in September after search warrants executed in March revealed illegal drugs and firearms allegedly belonging to the defendant. Court documents state law enforcement recovered cache of pistols, rifles and revolver.
He is currently out on his own recognizance awaiting a March 2018 sentencing.
Mitchell changed his plea to guilty in District Court November 21 in Baker for one count felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one count misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia per a plea agreement.
Charges stem from discoveries made in the same March incident. Court documents state Mitchell was in possession of a Ziploc bag with residue identified by a chemist at the Montana State Crime Lab as methamphetamine. Other items found in the house include a glass marijuana pipe, suspected marijuana in a bag, suspected methamphetamine pipe, one hitter box, broken glass pipe, syringes, hash oil pipe and other paraphernalia.
Mitchell is also awaiting sentencing on the drug charges.