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Press Release

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Poly-Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Jose Monge-Ponce, aka Ramon Maciel-Ponce, aka Jose Ponce (Ponce), 33, of Mexico, entered a guilty plea today to conspiring to manufacture, to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. 

According to court documents, in January 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at an unoccupied residence in Madera and found a methamphetamine lab, along with 10 pounds of finished methamphetamine, 4 pounds of heroin, 1 pound of cocaine, and 25 pounds of marijuana. Ponce, Oscar Rene Marrot-Garcia, 30, of Chowchilla, and Francisco Alcantar-Miranda, 34, of Mexico were also inside, and Ponce was in possession of an unregistered firearm, three cellphones, and pay-owe sheets. 

Alcantar and Marrot previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced to 10 years and six and one half years, respectively.

Ponce is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on May 22, 2023. Ponce faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, along with a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic Enforcement Team (MADNET), and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) High Impact Investigation Team (HITT), consisting of agents of Homeland Security Investigations, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s Offices of Fresno, Tulare, and King Counties, and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 13, 2023

Drug Trafficking