BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine in the community after law enforcement found almost one pound of meth and a loaded firearm in his vehicle was sentenced today to 15 years and eight months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Joel Zamora, 41, pleaded guilty in August 2021 to possession with intent to distribute meth.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that Zamora was repeatedly caught with large quantities of meth he intended to distribute. In November 2020, law enforcement investigating Zamora suspected he had a drug supplier in Butte and conducted a traffic stop of his vehicle on Interstate 90. A search of the vehicle pursuant to a warrant found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat, a bag containing about 400 grams, which is slightly less than one pound, of meth in a metal box on the front passenger floorboard and $3,500 cash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin M. Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI’s Western Transnational Organized Crime Task Force and the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
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.
Clair J. Howard
Public Affairs Officer