A Billings man who admitted trafficking pounds of high-grade methamphetamine in 2015 while on federal supervision for a previous meth conviction will spend more than 11 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Thursday sentenced Burhan A. Mallak, 56, to 11 years and three months for his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute meth.

Mallak was held responsible for 10 pounds of pure to nearly pure meth. He got 10 pounds of meth from his two Mexico suppliers but had to return seven pounds because the suppliers wanted to sell it for a higher profit in the south, prosecutors said.

Investigators recovered about a pound of 100 percent pure meth from a storage unit used by Mallak.

Mallak and his wife, Denise Kelly Mallak, 48, both were charged in the conspiracy, which ran from about January 2015 until August 2015.

Watters sentenced Denise Mallak to seven years and three months for her conviction on a conspiracy count. The couple each got the low end of their guideline ranges.

The Mallaks also forfeited $11,240 in cash that law enforcement found at a Height’s residence.

Watters rejected a defense recommendation for a minimum mandatory 10-year term and followed a prosecution request for the 11-year sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich said Burhan Mallak planned to be a meth dealer while still in federal prison for his first meth distribution conviction and then “flooded the Billings community” with the drug when he got released.

Burhan Mallak wasn’t actually using the drug in the latest conspiracy and was being monitored for drug use by his probation officer, Rubich said. Mallak sold meth to make a profit, he said.

Watters noted the large amount of meth involved and said she wasn’t so naive to think the 10 pounds of meth were the only drugs that had been distributed because the conspiracy began in about January 2015.

Mallak, the judge said, got released from federal prison in 2013 after serving a five-year sentence for distributing meth in a Billings case. He was referred to immigration officials for deportation to Iraq, where he is from, but was released back into the community after Iraq refused to take him, she said.

Mallak then returned to meth trafficking. “He didn’t learn anything,” Watters said.

Defense attorney Jay Lansing said a 10-year sentence was sufficient punishment. Burhan Mallak, he said, grew up in a violent country and suffered a head injury as a child. He also has mental disorders and has taken a series of medications that ultimate led him to use meth as a way to think, Lansing said.

Watters agreed to recommend that Burhan Mallak be placed in a medical prison facility. She also ordered him to have no contact with children under the age of 18 other than his own children and grandchildren upon his release. The restriction was included in a pre-sentence report because of sex abuse allegations, however, Burhan Mallak was not charged and he did not admit to any allegations.

The investigation of the Mallaks began in early 2015 when officers with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program got information that the couple was trafficking meth.

^pMontana task force agents, working with a New Mexico task force, developed evidence of a drug deal between the Mallaks and two traffickers from Mexico.

^pThat deal happened near Billings on April 10, 2015 in which Burhan Mallak delivered seven pounds of meth to the traffickers who had traveled from New Mexico.

In addition, a confidential source, working with agents, bought ounce quantities of meth from both Mallaks on three occasions.

In August 2015, agents executed search warrants on the Mallak’s residence, a storage unit and a Heights residence.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.