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Hot Springs man among 22 sentenced for drug trafficking

FORT SMITH — The final members of an Arkansas River Valley group have been sentenced to federal prison for the Distribution of Methamphetamine. The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearings for the United States District Court in Fort Smith.

In the fall of 2019, Agents with the DEA and the FBI launched an investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering in the Western District of Arkansas. For approximately a year between September 2019 and September of 2020, agents conducted extensive investigative activities into a large, River Valley-based drug trafficking organization led by Manuel “Chuy” De Jesus Perez-Echeverria.

This investigation resulted the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of twenty-two (22) individual drug traffickers and money launderers and the seizure of approximately 6.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 15 firearms, and $146,687 in funds derived from drug trafficking.

The sentencings of the drug trafficking organization members are as follows:

WDAR Case No. 2:20 CR 20014 – 001-004 – (Indictment issued July 28, 2020)

Alexis Tirado – age 27, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced April 8, 2021 to 180 months BOP and $100 special assessment for Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of More Than 50 Grams of Methamphetamine.

Emmanuel Miranda – age 25, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced April 1, 2021 to 78 months BOP and $100 special assessment for Conspiracy to Distribute More Than 5 Grams of Methamphetamine.

Israel Miranda-Zapata – age 30, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced April 1, 2021 to 108 months BOP and $100 special assessment for Conspiracy to Distribute More Than 5 Grams of Methamphetamine.

Brenda Golden Day – age 36, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced April 1, 2021 to 60 months BOP and $100 special assessment for Distribution of More Than Five Grams of Methamphetamine.

WDAR Case No. 2:20 CR 20017-001-018 (Original Indictment issued August 26, 2020, Superseding Indictment issued October 7, 2020)

Manuel “Chuy” De Jesus Perez-Echeverria – age 36, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 22, 2021 to 360 months BOP, $100 special assessment, and $20,000 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute More Than Five Hundred (500) Grams of a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Humberto “Beto” Acosta-Martinez – age 33, Poteau, Oklahoma – sentenced October 12, 2021 to 48 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $300 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Shaun Michael Easton – age 40, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced November 9, 2021 to 108 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $900 fine for Distribution of More Than Five (5) Grams of Methamphetamine.

Julio Ivan Enriquez-Munoz – age 41, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – sentenced November 8, 2021 to 51 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $400 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Alberto Ledesma – age 43, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 18, 2021 to 188 months BOP, $100 special assessment and $2,900 fine for Distribution of More than Fifty (50) Grams of Methamphetamine.

Efrain Maciel-Martinez – age 54, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 14, 2021 to 78 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $300 fine for Possession of More Than Fifty (50) Grams of a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.

Makayla Nicole Martin – age 22, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 15, 2021 to 63 months BOP, $100 special assessment and $1,400 fine for Money Laundering.

Traye Everett Martin – age 26, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 14, 2021 to 57 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $1,400 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Nicholas “Nico” Moron-Rivera – age 29, Fort Smith, Arkansas – plead guilty on September 16, 2021 to Distribution of Methamphetamine. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

Julie Ann Pyles – age 42, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 13, 2021 to 78 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $1,400 fine for Money Laundering.

Paula Lynne Rider – age 58, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 6, 2021 to 87 months BOP, $100 special assessment and a $900 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.           

Ezequiel Rodriguez – age 43. Heavener, Oklahoma – sentenced October 21, 2021 to 210 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $14,653.19 in restitution to the DEA for methamphetamine laboratory cleanup/abatement for Conspiracy to Distribute More Than Five-Hundred (500) Grams of a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Ronal Salinas – age 24, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 5, 2021 to 33 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $900 fine for Distribution of More Than Five (5) Grams of Methamphetamine.

Benjamin Valdez – age 38, Paris, Arkansas – sentenced October 21, 2021 to 262 months BOP, $100 special assessment and a $5,000 fine for Distribution of More Than Five (5) Grams of Methamphetamine.

Amber Renee Vance – age 35, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced July 21, 2021 to 130 months BOP and a $100 special assessment for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Richard James Vineyard – age 33, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced November 9, 2021 to 120 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $900 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Emily Elizabeth Williams – age 31, Fort Smith, Arkansas – sentenced October 5, 2021 to 70 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $900 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Michael Dean Wilson – age 38, Hot Springs, Arkansas – sentenced October 13, 2021 to 110 months BOP, $100 special assessment, $1900 fine for Conspiracy to Distribute a Mixture or Substance Containing Methamphetamine.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas, FBI Little Rock, Special Agent in Charge Jim Dawson, and DEA Little Rock, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jarad Harper made the announcement.

DEA – Fort Smith, AR; McAllister, OK; Atlanta, GA, FBI – Fort Smith, AR; Oklahoma City, OK; Miami, FL, U.S. Marshals Service, ATF – Fort Smith, AR, State & Local Agencies – Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Smith Police Department, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, Greenwood Police Department, Paris Police Department, Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, 12th/21st Judicial District Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Carter prosecuted the case for the United States.

Today’s announcement is part of the Western District of Arkansas’ Operation Bear Mountain Bingo, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy.  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illicit drug supply.

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