Kalispell man sentenced to prison for transporting stolen firearms to Idaho, trafficking meth

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MISSOULA — A Kalispell man who admitted transporting firearms and ammunition stolen from a storage unit to Idaho and to trafficking methamphetamine was sentenced on Feb. 11 to six years and eight months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Joseph Vernon Holmstrom 41, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to interstate transportation of stolen firearms and to possession with intent to distribute meth.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. Judge Molloy ordered restitution of $101,900 to be joint and several with the co-defendant.

The government alleged in court documents that in December 2019, Idaho Falls, Idaho, police responded to a report of an abandoned U-Haul vehicle that appeared to have been stolen. An investigation led to a Kalispell man, who then discovered his storage unit in Kalispell had been burglarized and that he was missing firearms and ammunition. Holmstrom, who was with the U-Haul, had the victim’s driver’s license in his pocket.  

The investigation further led to co-defendant, Jeremy Anthony O’Canna, and evidence of him entering the victim’s storage unit and removing guns and ammunition. O’Canna sent Facebook messages to people asking if they needed guns and sent photographs of guns and ammunition he had to sell. He claimed he was on his way to Idaho Falls to sell guns to Mexicans. Holmstrom messaged people that they were going to need two U-Hauls, in reference to hauling the guns, sent the same pictures of guns and ammunition that O’Canna was sending and that he was in Idaho Falls. In December, Holmstrom sent messages that they were robbed. The firearms and ammunition have not been recovered.

When arrested in Idaho Falls, Holmstrom had a small amount of meth, and witnesses told law enforcement that they purchased meth from Holmstrom.

O’Canna was sentenced previously to two years in prison and ordered to pay $101,900  restitution for conviction in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department and Idaho Falls Animal Control.

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.