Lubbock man sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for traffick - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock man sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for trafficking meth

Jonathan Lovato (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center) Jonathan Lovato (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
Crystal Ann Alaniz (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center) Crystal Ann Alaniz (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
(Source: KCBD) (Source: KCBD)
Dung Ngoc "Nancy" Tran (Source: Covenant Health) Dung Ngoc "Nancy" Tran (Source: Covenant Health)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

A Lubbock man who pleaded guilty to methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy has been sentenced to two 480-month sentences in federal prison to run concurrently.

On March 17, 2016, Lubbock police officers conducted an undercover narcotics purchase from a hotel room in Lubbock and were watching the room to monitor traffic at the location while a search warrant was obtained. During this surveillance, police saw 34-year-old Jonathan Lovato (the investigation's main target) arrive and begin taking items from the room. Lovato attempted to leave the hotel grounds in his vehicle. When officers tried to detain him, he drove off in a silver sedan, evading officers for several blocks at unlawful speeds and against oncoming traffic.

The vehicle was stopped when it struck several other oncoming vehicles. One woman in a vehicle Lovato struck, 54-year-old Dung Ngoc "Nancy" Tran, was killed in the accident.

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.

Lovato pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, aiding and abetting and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

A co-defendant in the case, 33-year-old Crystal Ann Alaniz, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and aiding and abetting.

Co-defendants Arleen Theres Keithley, 36, Juan Carlos Lara-Ochoa, 24, and Jose Alberto Cibrian, 41, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.

According to documents filed in the case, on April 30, 2016, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) stopped a vehicle in Lubbock for traffic violations.  Keithley was the driver; Alaniz was the passenger.  Keithley was arrested for driving with an invalid license, and Alaniz, who had several outstanding warrants, was also placed under arrest.

Both Keithley and Alaniz were placed in the trooper’s vehicle.  The in-car video recording system captured Keithley maneuver her hands—while handcuffed—to her left breast area and force a substance in a plastic bag out of her bra.  Keithley then used her teeth to remove the item from her bra and toss it to the back seat area where Alaniz was seated.  Alaniz hid the item in her pants.  Both women were transported to the Lubbock County Detention Center.  When asked if either was in possession of any contraband, Alaniz initially stated, "no," before admitting "I have stuff on me."  

Alaniz was searched and two plastic bags containing suspected methamphetamine were found in her pants.  Alaniz was also in possession of two plastic bags that contained several smaller plastic bags with markings consistent with narcotics trafficking. 

The Texas DPS Crime Lab determined that the suspected methamphetamine was, in fact, methamphetamine, and it weighed a total of 54.93 grams.

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