PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 14, 2012

IH-10 truck driver sentenced for transporting drug money


The Port Arthur News

— A 41-year-old Alamo, Texas man has been sentenced to prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.  

Natividad Ovalle, Jr. pleaded guilty on June 19, 2012, to interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield. Ovalle was also ordered to forfeit $771,780 in U.S. currency and his truck and utility trailer.

According to information presented in court, on Apr. 14, 2012, Ovalle was driving a truck and trailer on Interstate 10 near Orange, when he was stopped for an inspection. Ovalle consented to a search of the truck and trailer, during which a large duffle bag containing 59 duct taped bundles of currency was discovered. Ovalle admitted that he had also transported money on prior occasions and was paid between $15,000 and $18,000 for each trip. Ovalle also admitted to knowing the money was from proceeds of a drug trafficking enterprise. The bundles found in the duffle bag were counted and determined to be $771,780.00. Ovalle was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 18, 2012.

This case was investigated by the DEA, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.