John Wesley Hall

Arkansas men sentenced for methamphetamine trafficking

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas has reported that three men have been convicted of operating a methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking organization. A 34-year-old man, 58-year-old man and 27-year-old man were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to 24 years to be followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. The sentences were handed down on Dec. 16 in Fort Smith. The men all entered guilty pleas in August. They could have been sent to prison for life if they had been found guilty by a jury.

The men were taken into custody on April 5 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at a residence in Alpena. Agents claim to have discovered about 140 pounds of methamphetamine and large quantities of chemicals including acetone in the residence. Agents believe the chemicals were used to reconstitute compressed methamphetamine that was transported to the home concealed inside vehicle wheels. The men allegedly distributed the reconstituted methamphetamine in Arkansas and Iowa.

The sentencing hearing marked the end of a narcotics investigation that began in February. The case was run by the Department of Justice and involved agencies including the FBI, the Arkansas Fourteenth Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas National Guard, the Harrison Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff's Office.

Some federal narcotics prosecutions are resolved like this one at the negotiating table. The maximum sentences for crimes like drug trafficking and distribution are severe, but U.S. attorneys may be willing to recommend more lenient penalties when suspects plead guilty. Experienced criminal defense attorneys might advise suspects to accept such offers when the evidence against them is likely to convince a jury, but they may recommend rejecting plea offers when the terms are unfavorable or the facts suggest that reasonable doubt could be established.

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