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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Billie Joe Bullshields Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on June 11, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, BILLIE JOE BULLSHIELDS, a 29-year-old resident of Browning, was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 48 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 4 years

BULLSHIELDS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to distribution of methamphetamine.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Beginning in November 2010, Louis Romero, Henry Lopez, and X.X., facilitated the distribution of methamphetamine to Browning, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Z.Z. and a confidential informant (CI) assisted Romero, Lopez, and X.X., by transporting the methamphetamine to Browning. The CI made his first trip to Browning in approximately January 2011, and continued to make trips to Browning for several months to sell methamphetamine.

Z.Z. and his mother normally picked the CI up at the train station. Z.Z.'s mother assisted the CI in setting up his narcotics shop in her house. On the CI's first trip to Browning, the CI, Z.Z., and Z.Z.'s mother sold approximately a half pound of methamphetamine from Z.Z.'s mother's house. On another trip, a quarter pound of methamphetamine was sold.

Due to the success of selling methamphetamine in Browning, Z.Z. and the CI were also recruited to sell methamphetamine to numerous people in Great Falls. The CI rewarded Z.Z.'s mother's help in selling methamphetamine by buying her a new Ford Explorer, as well as providing her with groceries and living expenses. During this time, BULLSHIELDS also became involved in purchasing methamphetamine from the CI. BULLSHIELDS resold the methamphetamine she purchased from the CI for profit.

The CI met Deanna Wells during the CI's third trip to Browning. Wells accompanied the CI to Great Falls to sell more methamphetamine. They received a large amount of cash during this trip. The CI and Wells regularly deposited cash received from drug deals for cashier's checks, and mailed the checks back to Romero, Lopez, and X.X.

During April 2011, the CI, Z.Z., BULLSHIELDS, and Wells purchased and distributed approximately one pound of methamphetamine throughout Browning and Great Falls. At one point, the CI and Wells drove to Great Falls and rented a motel room where they sold methamphetamine. Shortly thereafter, at the beginning of May, the CI possessed almost two pounds of methamphetamine which the CI began to sell out of Z.Z.'s mother's house. Z.Z. purchased some of this methamphetamine. Z.Z. and BULLSHIELDS regularly purchased the methamphetamine in larger quantities to break down into smaller quantities to re-sell around town. The CI, Wells, BULLSHIELDS, and Z.Z. finished business in Browning and headed to Great Falls with the remaining methamphetamine. BULLSHIELDS took a backpack of methamphetamine into a motel, while the CI and Z.Z. remained outside.

Z.Z. and the CI were ultimately arrested in the parking lot of the motel. Police stopped and found Z.Z. attempting to hide methamphetamine under a nearby car. Police then seized over 50 grams of pure (actual) methamphetamine. After Z.Z. and the CI were arrested, Wells and BULLSHIELDS returned to the hotel room where they retrieved the additional hidden methamphetamine.

From November 2010 until May 2011, BULLSHIELDS distributed 50 or more grams of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BULLSHIELDS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BULLSHIELDS does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Montana Regional Violent Crimes Task Force.

Updated January 14, 2015