GREAT FALLS – Edward Paul Ellington of Bozeman has been sentenced to 190 months (15.8 years) in prison followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
U.S. Senior District Judge Charles C. Lovell handed down the sentence in Helena on Thursday.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from July 2016 to May 2017, Ellington was involved in a large drug conspiracy operating in Gallatin and Broadwater Counties. Ellington was the leader of the drug conspiracy and would sell methamphetamine to at least 12 people. One of those people was Ryan Cervantes, who then sold the methamphetamine to 40 to 50 people. Ellington was considered to be the biggest drug supplier in the Bozeman and Belgrade area.
The investigation showed that Ellington, 38 years old, would often give drugs to people on a “front” and then personally collect the drug debt or send others to threaten or beat up the drug distributors to pay him the money they owed him. The investigation also showed that Ellington was in possession of firearms during his drug trafficking.
On April 15th, 2017, Ellington was driving a 2014 Chevy Cruz and was stopped near Three Forks by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper. Ellington was on his way back from Spokane to Bozeman with a drug load.
Officers obtained a warrant for Ellington’s vehicle and found approximately 200 grams of methamphetamine in Ellington’s possession. In addition, the investigation showed that Ellington first started selling ½ ounce quantities of methamphetamine, but those amounts increased rapidly.
By December 2017, Ellington was distributing ¾ of a pound of methamphetamine. In total, Ellington was held responsible for distributing 1,618.72 grams of methamphetamine. That converts to 12,949 individual dosage units of the drug which reached drug users in Montana.
Ellington’s co-conspirator, Ryan Cervantes was also charged, pled guilty, and sentenced on April 12, 2018 to 10 years imprisonment.
Reporting by David Sherman for MTN News