MAY 10 (LAREDO, Texas) - Elizabeth Nevarez, 44, of Laredo, has been ordered to prison for nearly five years following her conviction of one count of money laundering, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Nevarez entered into a written plea agreement on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Nevarez a sentence of 57 months in prison for her role in laundering drug proceeds. At a lengthy sentencing hearing today, arguments from the defense and prosecution were presented. After careful consideration of the presentence report and arguments of counsel, Judge Saldaña noted that Nevarez “benefited to a great extent from these drug proceeds.” Judge Saldaña ordered the forfeiture of Nevarez’s interest in a residence located on the 6300 block of Springtime Drive in San Antonio and ordered a money judgment in the amount of $98,630.45. Nevarez was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
In the guilty plea, Nevarez admitted to assisting the Ibarra Drug Trafficking Organization in May of 2010 after the arrest of Juan Ramon Ibarra Sr. and two other co-conspirators for cocaine distribution. The Ibarra family approached Nevarez in her capacity as regional manager at AA Best Bail Bonds to obtain bond for Ibarra Sr. During these discussions, Nevarez suggested the Ibarras transfer three valuable Laredo properties into her name in order to avoid seizure by the federal government. Nevarez forged the dates on the warranty deeds of the three properties to make it appear as though they were transferred prior to Ibarra Sr.’s arrest.
Shortly after this transfer, Nevarez sold the properties for substantially less than their market value. She then transferred the proceeds into her personal bank accounts and purchased a house in San Antonio. Specifically, Nevarez admitted to these activities as they related to a residence located on the 400 block of Blue Lake Drive, a property located in the upscale Lakeside community of Laredo. The residence was constructed by Ibarra Sr. with drug proceeds in 2005.
Nevarez was allowed to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender at a later date.
The case is the result of a two-year investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force - Financial Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys James Hepburn, Elizabeth Rabe, and Mary Ellen Smyth are prosecuting the case.