A man charged with robbing a West End casino in February admitted to acting as the getaway driver in U.S. District Court in Billings on Tuesday.
Christopher Alan Esrey, 30, pleaded guilty before Judge Timothy Cavan to one count of accessory after the fact. Under the terms of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors will dismiss his original charges of robbery affecting interstate commerce and conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce.
According to court documents, Esrey drove his accomplice, Antonio Francisco Gutierrez, to Dotty's Casino at 4010 Montana Sapphire Drive on Feb. 5, where Gutierrez removed a pistol from his pocket, pointed it at a casino employee and told her to empty the till.
Gutierrez left with an undisclosed amount of money, got into Esrey's car and the pair then drove away, court documents state.
The pair were later spotted by Billings police officers at another casino on the West End, where they were arrested.
You have free articles remaining.
Officers found a pistol in Gutierrez's jacket pocket and a large number of small bills on both of the men, court documents state.
Esrey faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $125,000 in fines. No sentencing date has been set.
Both Esrey and Gutierrez were indicted in federal court in April after they were initially charged in Yellowstone County District Court.
Gutierrez is charged with conspiracy, robbery affecting interstate commerce, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
His attorney, Jack Sands, has moved to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that he is not a felon, his rights to a speedy trial were violated and that the alleged robbery does not rise to the level of affecting interstate commerce. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for next week.