UMATILLA COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – An eastern Oregon man accused of leading a drug trafficking ring was sentenced to more than 19 years in federal prison Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.

Abel Lomas Murillo, 26, of Weston, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents, the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team, Oregon State Police and the FBI started to investigate a drug trafficking organization led by Murillo in November 2017.

Murillo sourced drugs from his older brother, Noel Murillo, who lived in Vacaville, California, the attorney’s office says.

The investigation revealed that as early as July 2017, Noel Murillo transported drugs from Vacaville to Klamath Falls, where a courier would then deliver them to Abel. Abel and co-conspirators also made trips to Medford to pick up drugs for distribution in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington.

An OSP trooper in January 2018 stopped one of the Murillo brothers’ couriers, Luis Alberto Navarro, in a vehicle near Klamath Falls en route to Umatilla County. A search of the vehicle revealed 11 concealed packages containing more than 8 kilograms of meth, the attorney’s office says.

As the investigation continued, Abel enlisted another courier, Noel Ponce Villegas, to drive meth from Medford to Boardman, Oregon. Investigators watched Abel as he traveled from Umatilla County to a storage locker in Medford and loaded a trailer attached to his truck. Abel then paid Villegas to drive his truck and trailer while he followed, according to the attorney’s office.

Investigators in May 2018 stopped Abel and Villegas on Interstate 84, seizing 42 packages of meth, 36 of which were concealed in a false bottom of a propane tank. The packages contained approximately 17.6 kilograms of meth, the attorney’s office says.

Investigators later that day searched Abel’s home, seizing 29 firearms and body armor. Pursuant to a separate search warrant, another 10 pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms were found in Abel’s storage locker in Medford.

In court Tuesday, Abel was ordered to pay $20,000 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgment. He was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

Noel Murillo, Abel’s brother, is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and will appear in court Nov. 5 this year.

Navarro pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in May 2018 and is due to be sentenced in October this year. Villegas pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in April and is due to be sentenced in December.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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