45-year-old Jonathan Escalante, aka Superman, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of drug dealing and fraud in an Anchorage Federal Court in front of Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph Beistline, U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced on Tuesday.
Escalante was indicted by a federal grand jury in January, on 18 counts that included conspiracy, theft of mail, credit card fraud, bank fraud, counterfeit securities, aggravated identity theft, trafficking in methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of firearms. Three of his co-conspirators, Neasha Martha Moore, Ralph Edward Oliver, and John Fred Brittain, were indicted the same day.
According to pleadings filed in the case, from September 2013 through September 2014, Escalante was the leader of a mail theft ring in Anchorage. Escalante recruited others to help him commit the crimes of Possession of Stolen Mail, Bank Fraud, Credit Card Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Possession of a Counterfeit Security.
Escalante and his co-conspirators used checks, credit cards and personal identification information stolen from the mail and from vehicle break-ins to obtain funds and merchandise to which they were not entitled. Escalante recruited his co-conspirators by providing them with methamphetamine and a portion of the items and cash obtained from the stolen checks and credit cards. Escalante and his co-conspirators obtained over $40,000 in cash and retail goods during the course of this scheme.
The scheme covered all of Anchorage from Eagle River to Hillside, from the Jewel Lake area to Muldoon, and even as far south as Soldotna.
While he ran the mail theft ring, Escalante also trafficked methamphetamine in the Anchorage area. While trafficking, Escalante kept in his possession, a 9mm Ruger pistol. Escalante also used a pistol to shoot at a victim as he stole the victim’s motorcycle, prosecutors say. As a felon, with three prior felony convictions, Escalante is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Escalante faces a minimum of five years in prison and as much as 40 years in prison and a fine of $5 million.