Billings man admits drug conspiracy, firearms charges
BILLINGS—Billings resident Nathan Thomas Trujillo, 41, admitted on Dec. 11 in federal court to drug trafficking and firearms charges in a conspiracy that brought methamphetamine from Denver, Colo., to the community, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
Trujillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, possession with intent to distribute meth and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided and will recommend Trujillo’s plea be accepted by U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, who is assigned to the case.
Sentencing is set for April 24, 2019. Trujillo is detained.
Trujillo faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and five years of supervised release on the drug counts. He also faces a minimum mandatory five years to life in prison consecutive to any other sentence on the firearms count.
If the case had gone to trial, the government would have presented the following information as evidence:
In August, drug task force agents began investigating a Billings area meth dealer, later identified as Trujillo, but who was living under a stolen identity to avoid arrest on an outstanding warrant. Agents conducted multiple drug buys with a co-conspirator of Trujillo’s and bought a total of about 13 ounces of meth.
Agents also learned that Trujillo traveled to Denver to obtain pound quantities of meth for re-distribution in the Billings area and got a court-authorized GPS tracking device for a vehicle Trujillo used. Information from the tracker indicated that Trujillo traveled to Denver on Aug. 31. Trujillo returned to Montana on Sept.7 and the Montana Highway Patrol arrested him at a gas station in Hardin.
Agents executed search warrants on Trujillo’s vehicle and apartment. From the vehicle, agents seized about 429 grams, or about 15 ounces, of meth, a 9mm pistol, a digital scale and plastic baggies. The 429 grams of meth is the equivalent of about 3,432 individual doses. Also found were additional firearms, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. From Trujillo’s apartment, agents seized another firearm and more drug paraphernalia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the FBI task force.
The case is being brought as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.