U.S. Attorney’s Office
March 11, 2013
District of Montana
Johnathan Miguel Balbin-Murillo Sentenced in U.S. District Court
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 8, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, Johnathan Miguel Balbin-Murillo, a 29-year-old resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, appeared for sentencing. Balbin-Murillo was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 46 months
Supervised release: five years
Balbin-Murillo was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
Balbin-Murillo came to the attention of law enforcement officers as part of a larger drug case. Balbin-Murillo was identified as a person who brought large amounts of methamphetamine from Las Vegas to Billings on behalf of supplier Howard Bonifant to distribute to Bonifant’s network here. As others were arrested, they gave testimony that led to the discovery of Balbin-Murillo and his role in the operation as a courier between Vegas and Billings. Balbin-Murillo was interviewed by agents in November 2011 and confessed that he had been recruited by Howard Bonifant in 2010 to transport methamphetamine from Las Vegas to Billings. After transporting it, Balbin-Murillo would stay in Billings and assist in its distribution to Bonifant’s next level of distributors and would then transport the drug proceeds via Greyhound bus back to Las Vegas, where he would give the proceeds to Bonifant. Balbin-Murillo confirmed that he worked with two other individuals and the three men took turns traveling to Billings with methamphetamine and returning with the money. They would each bring up pounds at a time. Balbin-Murillo confirmed distributions to various large customers in Billings. Balbin-Murillo’s involvement began in January 2010 and ended in November 2010.
Bonifant pled guilty to federal charges.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that Balbin-Murillo will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Balbin-Murillo does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for “good behavior.” However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.