Wheaton couple win $109 million lottery jackpot


Maryland State Lottery officials today announced the winners of the $109 million, multistate Mega Millions lottery jackpot, the second-largest award ever in Maryland.

Wheaton residents Miguel and Maria Bonilla, who won the April 9 drawing, have elected to receive the winnings as a lump sum of $62,163,496.64. After state and federal taxes, the Bonillas will get nearly $42 million.

Miguel Bonilla, a construction worker, purchased the lottery ticket at the Kensington Market at 10251 Kensington Parkway, where he stops nearly every day to buy coffee and a sandwich. The store will receive a $25,000 commission for selling the ticket.

The Bonillas' winning numbers, chosen as a "quick pick," were 2, 8, 10, 11, 23 and Mega Ball 40. They beat 135 million-to-1 odds to win.

"I kept forgetting to look at my tickets, even after someone from work told me that the winning ticket was purchased at Kensington Market, where I bought mine," Miguel Bonilla said in a statement. "I didn't really believe that I had won until we came to the lottery, and it is still very surprising and breathtaking."

Said Buddy Roogow, director of the Maryland State Lottery: "The best part of my job is presenting awards to our winners. It is extremely gratifying when it is such a large jackpot, and I have the pleasure of giving it to people as nice as the Bonillas."

Miguel Bonilla has worked at Miller-Long Concrete Construction for the past 18 years, lottery officials said. He met his wife, Maria, currently employed by the Montgomery County public school system, on a bus while commuting to Washington, D.C.

The Bonillas, originally from El Salvador, moved to the United States nearly 20 years ago, according to lottery officials. They said they plan to use the money for their children's education and to visit relatives in Australia.

This was the second time in less than a year that a Maryland resident has won the Mega Millions jackpot. Bernadette Gietka of Baldwin won a $183 million jackpot in June 2003, the largest ever won in Maryland.

Eleven states participate in the Mega Millions jackpot, including Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Originally published April 20, 2004, 11:00 AM EDT

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