Lubbock Man Involved in Police Pursuit in Which Another Motorist was Struck and Killed Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Firearm Charges
Jonathan Lovato Faces up to Life in Federal Prison
LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock, Texas, man, Jonathan Lovato, 33, appeared yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge D. Gordon Bryant Jr. and pleaded guilty to federal offenses stemming from his role in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Lovato pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and aiding and abetting, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting. He faces a statutory penalty of not less than five years or more than 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine on the drug conviction and not less than five years and up to life and a $250,000 fine on the firearm conviction. Judge Bryant ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after the completion of that report.
On March 17, 2016, officers with the Lubbock Police Department conducted an undercover narcotics purchase from a hotel room in Lubbock and were watching the room to monitor traffic to and from the location while a search warrant was obtained. During this surveillance, officers saw the main target of the investigation, Lovato, arrive in a silver sedan and begin to take items from the hotel room. Lovato attempted to leave the hotel in his vehicle, and when officers tried to detain him, he sped away. He evaded officers for several blocks, driving in excess of the speed limit, against oncoming traffic, and through several traffic-controlled intersections without observing the traffic signals. Lovato’s vehicle was stopped when he struck several other vehicles as he drove against oncoming traffic into a busy street intersection. One of the individuals in a vehicle he struck sustained life-threatening injuries and later died.
As officers approached Lovato’s vehicle, they discovered he had a 9mm caliber pistol in his waistband. A package containing a substance, later verified as 118.13 grams of methamphetamine, was found in the glove box and five cell phones were found throughout the vehicle. Lovato admitted he possessed the firearm and admitted to selling methamphetamine.
The case is being investigated by the Lubbock Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long is in charge of the prosecution.
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