Four people were sentenced this week for their roles in a drug-trafficking operation in western Arkansas, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge.
The investigation began in January 2012. Agents found the organization trafficked large amounts of methamphetamine, particularly in Springdale, with ties around Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, according to the release.
Gonzalo Ponce-Hurtado, 59, of Texas, was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison and three years of supervised release with a $15,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Authorities identified him as the leader of the organization.
Alejandro Fraire-Martinez, 30, of Springdale, was sentenced to 3 years, 10 months in prison for distribution of more than 5 grams of methamphetamine.
Marcelino Pacheco-Huizar, 50, of Mexico, was sentenced to 10 years, one month in prison, three years of supervised release and a $15,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Gonzalo Romero-Madera, 32, of Mexico, was sentenced to 9 years in prison, 3 years supervised release and a $5,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and illegal re-entry into the United States after deportation.
“With this case, another drug trafficking organization in Western Arkansas is now out of business," Eldridge said in the release. "Those that continually violate the law by participating in this type of criminal activity put our communities at risk and demonstrate a lack of respect for both the criminal justice system and society in general. We will continue to aggressively prosecute these types of cases in order to keep the residents of the Western District of Arkansas safe.”