DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — A credit union chief cashier who stole more than $600,000 from the safe, then disappeared for years — only to be found by police as a trafficker armed and covered in blood in Durham in 2021 – was sentenced to the case on Tuesday, officials said.
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Jorge Omar Navarro, 30, was found in late March 2021 when – using a fake name and fake ID – he claimed he was robbed by men at gunpoint from his flat in Durham, has said the US Department of Justice.
When Durham police arrived, they found six firearms, several kilograms of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and $74,900 in cash, according to a previous press release about his guilty plea from the U.S. District Attorney. North Carolina Intermediate.
Navarro was sentenced to more than 12 years on Tuesday, 147 months, after he pleaded guilty late last year to embezzle money from his credit union in Danville, Virginia. He also pleaded guilty to drug charges related to the Durham bust.
The crazy story of a head cashier at a credit union descending into the life of a blood-covered drug dealer began in July 2017.
That’s when officials said Navarro began withdrawing large sums of money from the URW Federal Credit Union in Danville, Virginia.
He continued to take the money for months – until September 2018, authorities said. Federal officials said they have video of him taking money.
He replaced money in the safe with counterfeit money, authorities also said.
In September 2018, Navarro went missing and went for a short stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Charlotte, authorities said. After checking out on September 10, he texted the credit union’s CEO, admitting he had taken the money, according to the US Department of Justice.
Navarro then left town and went on the run with the stolen loot – spending the next two years as a fugitive.
When he was found by Durham Police just before 10 a.m. on March 31, 2021, he was covered in blood and running from gunfire, officials said.
Three handguns, a shotgun, two rifles, a body armor and money-counting machines were found in his unit at Independence Park Apartments in Durham, officials said.
Durham Police also said there was “blood all over the flat”.
The $74,900 in cash police found in Durham’s flat was from the sale of drugs, Navarro admitted, according to an earlier press release.
“He claimed he was trafficking cocaine to pay off the bank,” federal officials said in a factual document.
Durham Police said they found him when they responded this March morning to a disturbance with a gun at the apartments at 215 William Penn Plaza.
It’s unclear where the $617,000 went during Navarro’s two years on the run.
Durham Police say he told them men robbed him of $200,000 on March 31 when shots were fired which brought police in and ended his run as a fugitive and drug dealer.
“Credit for ending the frenzy goes to the officers of the Durham Police Department, whose thoroughness revealed that the accused was in fact a drug dealer and fugitive from justice,” the lawyer said. American Sandra J. Hairston in a press release.
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Navarro pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in connection with a felony drug trafficking for his driving in Durham, officials said.
In the Virginia incident, he pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and one count of using counterfeit money with intent to commit fraud.
Navarro’s sentencing came Tuesday in Winston-Salem where he faced a minimum of 10 years in prison, with a maximum of a life sentence. The verdict decided was over 12 years with $628,600.43 in restitution, North Carolina’s Middle District told CBS 17 on Wednesday.
WFXR-TV contributed to this report.