PORTLAND, OREGON- Today, a man from Vacaville, California, was sentenced to federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to traffic large quantities of methamphetamine from California to Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington.
Noel Lomas Murillo, 34, received a 60-month federal prison sentence and three years of supervised release.
According to court documents, the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT), the Oregon State Police (OSP), and the FBI began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization led by Murillo’s brother, Abel Lomas Murillo, 28, of Weston, Oregon, in November 2017.
As early as July 2017, Noel Murillo transported drugs from Vacaville to Klamath Falls, Oregon, where they would be delivered to his brother by a courier. Additionally, Abel Murillo made multiple trips to Medford, Oregon, to procure drugs and transport them to Morrow and Umatilla Counties for distribution.
In January 2018, an OSP trooper apprehended one of Abel Murillo’s couriers, Luis Alberto Navarro, 33, of Boardman, Oregon, while he was driving near Klamath Falls on his way to Umatilla County. The vehicle was searched and it was discovered that 11 concealed packages contained more than eight kilograms of methamphetamine.
Abel Murillo enlisted another courier, Noel Ponce Villegas, 28, also of Boardman, to transport methamphetamine from Medford to Boardman in early May 2018. Investigators followed Abel Murillo from Umatilla County to a Medford storage locker, where he loaded a trailer pulled by his truck. Abel Murillo compensated Villegas for driving his truck and trailer while he accompanied him in order to mitigate his own risk. On May 6, 2018, investigators from BENT, OSP, and the FBI stopped Abel Murillo and Villegas near Interstate 84 mile marker 102.
42 packages of methamphetamine were seized, 36 of which were hidden in the false bottom of a propane tank. Around 17.6 kilograms of methamphetamine were contained in the packages. Investigators executed a search warrant at Abel Murillo’s residence later that day, seizing 29 firearms and body armor. A separate search warrant discovered an additional ten pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms in a Medford storage locker visited earlier in the weekend by Abel Murillo.
On December 19, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a two-count superseding indictment charging Noel Murillo with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute methamphetamine, as well as possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge on September 28, 2021.
On May 7, 2018, Navarro pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. On May 23, 2022, he will be sentenced.
Abel Murillo pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on April 15, 2019. He was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release on September 10, 2019.
On April 18, 2019, Villegas pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. He was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release on December 16, 2020.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon.
BENT, OSP, and the FBI investigated this case. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted the case.