Livingston man sentenced for drug conspiracy in Gallatin, Broadwater counties

Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 15:37:04-04

HELENA – A Livingston man involved in a large drug conspiracy operating in Gallatin and Broadwater Counties was sentenced on Thursday in Federal Court.

Ryan Frank Cervantes, 27, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by 10 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.

From July 2016 to May 2017, Cervantes worked for Ed Ellington—reportedly the biggest drug supplier in the Bozeman and Belgrade area—as part of a drug conspiracy.

On December 7, 2016, the Missouri River Drug Task Force conducted a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Krystal Rego.  Investigators met with a Confidential Informant (“CI”) prior to the purchase. 

The CI had arranged to buy about 3.5 grams of methamphetamine from Rego and proceeded to meet with her at the Super 8 Motel in Bozeman. 

Rego met the CI in the parking lot and together they went into the hotel.  A short while later, investigators observed Rego come back outside the hotel where she met up with Cervantes to get the methamphetamine. 

Rego then went back to the hotel room and gave the methamphetamine to the CI.  Shortly thereafter, the CI left and met back up with investigators. 

The investigation showed that, in addition to Rego, Cervantes was a drug supplier to at least 40-50 other people.

Cervantes’ source of supply was Ed Ellington.  During the scope of the drug conspiracy, Cervantes was held responsible for distributing 226 grams of methamphetamine.  That converts to 1808 individual doses of the drug which reached drug users in Montana. 

Ed Ellington was also charged and has pleaded guilty in this case.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24, 2018.

Thursday’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker and investigated by the FBI and the Missouri River Drug Task Force.