Federal prosecutors announced Friday in a news release that the final defendant in a multi-person indictment was sentenced to federal prison last week, effectively bringing to a close the significant criminal activities of an East Arkansas drug-trafficking and money-laundering organization.
The release said that Termaine Ontario Slaughter, 36, of Parkin was sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison Thursday by U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr., who also ordered Slaughter to serve five years on supervised release.
Slaughter pleaded guilty in November to one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
On Nov. 7, 2018, Slaughter was named in a 16-count indictment along with Demario Smith, 40, of Southaven, Miss.; Elliott Davis, 41, of Colt; and Montana Smith, 45, of Parkin as being involved in the distribution of methamphetamine in the Forrest City area.
Federal authorities said Slaughter and Demario Smith used drug proceeds to finance a trucking business, Prudent Transport, and a rental property business, Upscale Properties. Evidence showed that Slaughter and his associates imported methamphetamine from the Dallas area using couriers who rode a Megabus from Memphis to Dallas and back. The organization also imported methamphetamine from California using the U.S. Postal Service and other mailing services.
The release said analysis of records from the trucking business and rental properties showed that from 2013 to 2017, Slaughter's personal and business accounts had $733,811 in deposits from unidentified sources. Analysis showed there were $877,359 in cash expenditures on vehicles and other items that did not come from the accounts, including the purchase of tractor-trailers for the trucking business.
Examination of bank records revealed that cash deposits in amounts under $10,000 were systematically made at bank branches in Memphis, Mississippi and Arkansas, with corresponding amounts being withdrawn from other bank locations on or around the same dates.
During Thursday's sentencing hearing, in addition to receiving his prison sentence, Slaughter agreed to forfeit numerous firearms and five vehicles, including four over-the-road trucks used by Prudent Transport and a Dodge Challenger.
On Nov. 19, Demario Smith pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. On May 26, he was sentenced to 33 months' imprisonment. Davis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and on June 8 he was sentenced to 51 months.
Also on Nov. 19, Montana Smith pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, and on June 9 he was sentenced to five years' probation.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross credited the prosecutions to a partnership among federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
"Our office and our federal partners will use every resource available to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking organizations in Arkansas," Ross said in a news release. "In this case, we tracked the money, and it led us to straight to criminals who were trying to poison our communities. As these drug traffickers learned, if you choose this line of work, enjoy the money while you can, because it won't last nearly as long as your prison sentence."