Doroteo Manuel Ponce and Gilbert Navarro Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Doroteo Manual Ponce, who is 35 years old and from Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced on November 18, 2015 to a term of 262 months (21.8 years) imprisonment, to be followed by a term of five years of supervised release. Ponce pleaded guilty on August 27, 2015 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, and two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Testimony at Ponce’s sentencing hearing revealed that Ponce arranged for large quantities of methamphetamine to be shipped to the Omaha area, and that Ponce would then distribute that methamphetamine to others in the Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Omaha areas. Ponce qualified for an enhancement in his sentence because of his leadership role in the offense, and there was testimony that Ponce had one person who worked for Ponce as an employee in Ponce’s drug trafficking business. At times, Ponce also directed others to deposit monetary proceeds from drug trafficking into various bank accounts in order to funnel that money back to Ponce’s suppliers to pay for the drugs.
Gilbert Navarro, who is 42 years old and from Omaha, Nebraska, was a codefendant with Doroteo Ponce. On April 7, 2015, Navarro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. On November 17, 2015, Navarro was sentenced to a term of 60 months (5 years) imprisonment, to be followed by four years of supervised release. Evidence at Navarro’s sentencing hearing showed that in early 2014, a semi-truck containing somewhere between 1,500 pounds and 2,500 pounds of marijuana was delivered to the Omaha area. The truck was also hauling eggplants to help conceal the marijuana. Navarro arranged for the use of a storage facility to unload the marijuana. Navarro, who owned Navarro Construction, used a forklift from his business to help unload the marijuana, and at times used company trucks in delivering the marijuana to his customers. Navarro and Ponce owed approximately $1,000,000 to Ponce’s suppliers for the marijuana, and they worked together on selling the marijuana in the months after it was delivered. When police executed a search warrant at a residence in Council Bluffs, Iowa in May of 2014, they recovered approximately $160,000 of United States currency. Most of that money was proceeds from Navarro’s marijuana sales, and was to be delivered to Ponce’s suppliers as a partial payment for the marijuana.
In addition to selling marijuana, Navarro also purchased a 2014 Ram 1500 pickup truck in the name of one of his companies, “D.N. Inc.” Ponce, whose primary source of income was from drug trafficking, wished to purchase a vehicle. Because Ponce would not be able to obtain financing for the vehicle given his illegal occupation, Ponce and Navarro reached an agreement or understanding that Navarro would purchase the vehicle for Ponce and finance the vehicle. Ponce agreed to make payments to Navarro for the pickup truck, and the truck was then used exclusively by Ponce.
The Honorable Joseph F. Bataillon, Senior United States District Court Judge, presided over the hearings in Ponce and Navarro’s case.
This case was investigated by the Greater Omaha Safe Streets Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Greater Omaha Safe Streets Task Force is comprised of the following agencies: The Omaha Police Department, The Bellevue Police Department, The LaVista Police Department, The Council Bluffs Police Department, The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and The Nebraska State Patrol.