HELENA – A man called “the biggest drug supplier in the Bozeman and Belgrade area” will spend more than 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to drug charges.
Edward Paul Ellington, 38 was sentenced Thursday to 190 months in prison followed by 5 years 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.
According to charging documents, Ellington was involved in a large drug conspiracy operating in Gallatin and Broadwater counties from July 2016 to May 2017.
Ellington reportedly was the leader of the drug conspiracy and would sell methamphetamine to at least 12 different people. One of those individuals was Ryan Cervantes who would then sell the methamphetamine to 40 to 50 people.
The investigation showed that Ellington 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 stopped near Three Forks by Montana Highway Patrol. 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, pleaded guilty, and sentenced on April 12, 2018 to 10 years imprisonment.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, and the Montana Highway Patrol.