The harshest sentence of the week goes out to the state of Nebraska for handing down 22 years on drug charges. A Lincoln man with a criminal history in Grand Island has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for drug possession. Carlos Ponce, 25, was sentenced on Thursday in U.S. District Court to 22 years in prison for possession of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. In addition, he must serve five years of supervised release following his prison term, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office. On July 7, 2010, Ponce was contacted by members of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Drug Task Force in Lincoln. He had about an ounce of meth in his possession. Inside the vehicle, police found several hundred dollars, a digital scale with drug residue and other items, according to the press release. A federal arrest warrant was later issued based on that incident, and Ponce was arrested in Grand Island on Sept. 2, 2010. Grand Island police reported they had documented Ponce to be either a member or an associate of the East Side Locos gang, according to the press release. He was convicted following a jury trial on April 20.
Ponce’s criminal history in Grand Island includes convictions for robbery, operating a vehicle to avoid arrest and theft. He was sentenced in June 2007 to two to three years in prison and was released in May 2010. He was also believed to be the intended target of a shooting last summer. According to a search warrant affidavit regarding the Aug. 29, 2010, incident, the shooting occurred outside a residence at the Bellwood Square Apartments. It was related to an ongoing feud between two gangs. Members of the Humphrey/Pacoima Boys were sitting outside the apartment complex when Carlos Ponce and several other East Side Locos gang members drove past on Wedgewood Drive in a dark-colored two-door coupe. The people in the car yelled toward the people sitting outside the building, trying to provoke a fight, according to the search warrant affidavit. Later, two people drove by a black, two-door vehicle that resembled Ponce’s car, and they were shot at by members of the Humphrey/Pacoima Boys, who were still sitting outside the apartment complex, according to the affidavit. No one was seriously injured in the incident.
Ponce’s juvenile record includes convictions in Hall County Juvenile Court for two counts of aiding and abetting attempted first-degree assault, two counts of aiding and abetting the use of a gun to commit a felony and one count of aiding and abetting the unlawful discharge of a gun. According to police, Ponce was a passenger in a vehicle driven by another teen in May 2004. Ponce and several other teens encouraged the driver to fire a gun at two men standing in a yard. No one was injured in the shooting.