After fifty-four months, there is still one defendant in the Mongols federal racketeering case U.S. v. Cavazos et al. awaiting his day in court. He is Peter “Bouncer” Soto.
Another defendant named Horacio “Scorpio” Ponce was sentenced yesterday by Judge David O. Carter to a term of 84 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Ponce was defendant number 22 of 79 original defendants in the case. Ponce was originally charged with six federal counts. Five of those counts were dismissed yesterday and Ponce pled guilty to Count One of the original indictment.
Ponce admitted he was, “…employed by and associated with the Mongols criminal enterprise, which enterprise engaged in and the activities of which affected interstate and foreign commerce, unlawfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to violate Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962, that is, to conduct and participate, directly and indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity….”
Virtually all of Ponce’s court records have been sealed throughout the case. Judge Carter ordered the transcript of yesterday’s sentencing sealed. Ponce’s plea deal is sealed.
David Rivera, whose case was officially closed on August 27, 2010 has still not be sentenced. His sentencing hearing is now scheduled for July 8.
Soto was scheduled to be sentenced this morning but that sentencing was put off until July 22nd in order to accommodate a conflict with prosecutor Christopher Brunwin’s schedule. Soto was the last defendant in the case to be apprehended. He was arrested by Mexican police in Tijuana on July 26, 2011. Soto pled guilty on November 28, 2012 to being a large and affable man who sold comparatively small amounts of recreational drugs and sometimes carried a gun.
In his plea deal, Soto formally confessed that he made seven drug deals in the summer of 2006. The deals were for amounts of drugs between six grams and 13.5 grams. Five of the deals were with undercover policemen. Soto also confessed to simple assault.
The federal sentencing guidelines range for Soto, who has no previous convictions, is 87 to 108 months imprisonment. Soto has asked for a maximum sentence of 76 months. Brunwin, thinks Soto deserves a sentence of 87 months because he was a Mongol.
“This defendant long participated in an organization that rewarded and promoted violence, intimidation and sexual exploitation among its members,” Brunwin wrote Judge Carter in April. “This defendant participated in those crimes on numerous occasions over an extended period of time and demonstrated a significant disregard for the lawful order of our communities and antagonism to the suffering inflicted by the organization on the lives and well-being of law abiding persons.”