FAYETTEVILLE -- A Fayetteville man was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for his role in leading a methamphetamine ring.
Michael Scott Southerland, 33, was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
According to court documents, the 4th Judicial District Drug Task Force began investigating a drug trafficking organization in Northwest Arkansas in March 2021. Through source reporting, investigators learned Southerland was the leader of the organization and was supplying meth to other members of the organization for distribution. As part of the investigation, the task force made several purchases of methamphetamine from organization members.
On April 1, 2021, detectives searched the residence of a co-conspirator and found more than 7 pounds of methamphetamine stored in safes for future distribution as well as numerous firearms, according to court documents.
On May 18, 2021, detectives searched Southerland's home, as well as the home of one of his co-conspirators. The residences, which were adjacent to each other, were near a school. During the searches, detectives found 2.8 pounds of methamphetamine, numerous firearms, $10,366 and a drug ledger, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case.