Christian Joseph Nava

Billings man nabbed in box spring mattress admits meth charge

A Billings man who tried to hide in a bed box spring to evade law enforcement will spend more than seven years in federal prison on a meth conviction.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Friday sentenced Christian Joseph Nava, 31, to seven years and eight months, which was the low end of his guideline range, and ran the term concurrent to a lengthy state prison sentence he faces.

Noting his criminal record of three state felonies and five misdemeanors, Watters told Nava he had a lack of respect for the law.

Nava was on state supervision when he was arrested and charged in federal court with possession with intent to distribute meth. He pleaded guilty in a plea deal in which two other firearms counts were dismissed.

Officers arrested Nava in December 2016 after a warrant was issued for state parole violations, federal prosecutors said.

Agents with the Montana Violent Offender Task Force got information that Nava may have been living at his girlfriend’s residence and that there had been neighbor complaints about noise and the amount of foot traffic.

Task force officers went to the residence and ultimately found Nava hiding in a bed box spring. They also found a handgun in the mattress and plastic-wrapped ball of meth when they pulled the bed and box spring from a wall.

Prosecutor Thomas Godfrey recommended a mid-guideline range sentence of about eight years.

Assistant Federal Defender Dave Merchant asked for the minimum mandatory five years in prison and a concurrent term with Nava’s state sentence. Nava is facing at least 10 years in state prison on previous felony convictions.



Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.