California man, Christopher Santillanes Ceja admits meth trafficking crime
Law enforcement seize 24 pounds of pure meth from vehicle
BILLINGS (STL.News) A California man accused of trafficking methamphetamine after law enforcement officers found 24 pounds of the drug hidden in a vehicle he was driving pleaded guilty today to a trafficking crime, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Christopher Santillanes Ceja, 31, of Riverside, California, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute meth. Ceja faces a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release. Ceja was detained pending further proceedings.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters has not yet been set.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that law enforcement agents learned in March 2019 about a shipment of meth being transported from Mexico to Billings. Law enforcement surveillance saw a vehicle with a California license plate registered to Ceja pull into a Billings hotel. Ceja was known to law enforcement as having been involved in meth trafficking in the Billings area. Later that same evening, officers conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and Ceja was driving.