Local man pleads guilty to felony

Chris Aiken, Pioneer Staff Writer

Michael Avila pleaded guilty to felony theft in Sweet Grass County District Court on Tuesday.

The guilty plea was part of a pre-trial agreement between Avila and the state of Montana, represented by County Attorney Pat Dringman. 

Avila faced a total of eight charges for drug possession, burglary, theft and obstructing a peace officer. He had been “a known drug user,” according to an affidavit by Deputy Jason Ferguson, and was suspected in the theft of a Toyota pickup truck owned by Waide Satre in October. 

Avila fled on foot when deputies Ferguson and Rodriguez tried to arrest him on Nov. 3, but he was apprehended by Park County officals the following day. 

In return for pleading guilty to charges of theft and obstructing a peace officer, the state agreed to drop six other charges pending against Avila. The agreement offered the court a recommended sentence of five years in prison, with at least two years served unsuspended. Avila was given permission to attend inpatient drug treatment at the VA hospital in Fort Harrison while he awaits sentencing. The court ordered that he be equipped with a GPS monitoring device before he is released from custody.