Two men, including a South Omaha auto body shop owner who was shot and killed, were working as confidential informants for the FBI during an October drug deal that went bad.
Details surrounding the death of 36-year-old Cesar Sanchez-Gonzalez came out Monday in testimony from one of the special agents involved in the operation.
Sanchez-Gonzalez owned Sanchez Auto Repair, 4333 S. 24th St., and agreed to use his shop for the sale of up to 2 kilos of cocaine to a group of men from the Kansas City area. Federal agents and members of the Greater Omaha Safe Streets Task Force parked about a block from the repair shop on Oct. 22 to monitor the deal.
Special Agent Paris Capalupo said the second, unidentified informant in the auto shop was there “to calm things and make it look like we had more people in there, in case there was a drug rip,” Capalupo said. But a “drug rip” - or robbery - was exactly what the Kansas City men had planned, authorities say.
In all, four men with Kansas City ties have been charged in connection with the shooting death of Sanchez-Gonzalez. Two of the men appeared in court Monday.
Robert Nave, 36, the accused shooter, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was ordered to stand trial for first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and other lesser charges.
Kim Thomas, 57, also was ordered to stand trial for first-degree murder and conspiracy, among other charges. Capalupo testified during Thomas' hearing,
Two drug deals transpired inside the shop as agents listened. Capalupo said the unidentified informant planned to buy cocaine from two of the Kansas City men. Meanwhile, Cesar Ayala-Martinez, 20, a local man also known as “21,” brought cocaine to sell to the Kansas City group; he has been ordered to stand trial for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.
Abdul Vann, 35, and Shawn McGuire, 41, both with the Kansas City group, planned to turn the cocaine into crack. Authorities have said the drug robbery idea was Vann's. McGuire is now cooperating with prosecutors in the case.
The unnamed informant wore a recording device and had a telephone that allowed Capalupo and another FBI agent to hear what was going on inside the shop.
Capalupo said it appeared to be a regular drug deal until a man in gray hooded sweatshirt, believed to be Nave, pulled out a gun and walked into the shop.
At that point, Capalupo radioed for backup and drove toward the shop. Several shots were fired inside. Sanchez-Gonzalez died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Thomas, Nave and McGuire were arrested near the scene after crashing their car while fleeing. Vann was arrested days later in Kansas City.
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