Friday, September 14, 2012

Thirty in Jonesboro Indicted in Methamphetamine Conspiracy

LITTLE ROCK—Jane W. Duke, First Assistant for the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and William J. Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced the unsealing of a federal indictment against 30 individuals in the Jonesboro area.

The 64 count indictment charges all 30 defendants, except for Blanca Fuentes, in count 1 with conspiring to distribute, or to possess with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine from an unknown date through the grand jury’s return of the indictment on September 5, 2012. Antonio Ventura-Fuentes is charged in counts 2, 3, 6-11, and 13 with distributing methamphetamine on multiple occasions between January and May of 2012. William Jeffrey Long, Sr., and Michael Thomas McGuinnes are similarly charged with distributing methamphetamine, respectively, in counts 4 and 5, and count 11. Jeffrey Holman is charged in count 12 with possessing methamphetamine on May 8, 2012, with the intent to distribute it. Count 14 charges Blanca Fuentes with misprision of a felony for being aware of, concealing, and failing to report the methamphetamine conspiracy. The remaining 50 counts charge each defendant—except for Blanca Fuentes, Misty Polston, Marco Antonio Martinez, and Jeffrey Holman—with a “phone count” for using a telephone to commit, cause, or facilitate the methamphetamine conspiracy.

“Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and devastating drug,” stated Duke. “There is no way people are able to remain ‘social’ or ‘recreational’ meth users. It eventually overtakes every aspect of a person’s life. We have seen case after case where people think they can use methamphetamine occasionally and still maintain a family, a career, a home, and their health. But, the addictive nature of this drug is such that you simply cannot. Eventually, the acquisition and use of methamphetamine completely consumes a user. Left in the wake are broken families, ruined careers, repossessed homes, and serious health problems.”

“This is an important day for the Jonesboro community. Credit is due to the diligent investigative work of DEA agents, Jonesboro Police Department and the Craighead County Sheriff’s office, with assistance from the Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office,” stated Bryant. “Today, the Arkansas State Police, United States Marshals Service, the FBI, and the Arkansas National Guard and Independence County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrests of these drug dealers. Through coordinated efforts of the law enforcement community, we continue to make the communities across the state of Arkansas safer for the law abiding citizens living in them.”

If convicted of conspiring to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine (as charged in count 1), the defendants will face a sentence of not less than 10 years to life imprisonment. Counts 2-13 (distribution of or possession with intent to distribute less than 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine) carry a possible punishment of not more than 20 years in federal prison. Count 14 (misprision of a felony) carries a possible punishment of not more than three years’ imprisonment. Each “phone count” is punishable by not more than four years’ imprisonment.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Thyer has recused himself from the prosecution of this case.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jonesboro Police Department, and the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office. Assistance was also provided by the prosecutor’s office of the Second Judicial District. Agencies assisting with the arrests were the Arkansas State Police, the United States Marshal Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Arkansas National Guard, and Independence County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Gordon, Julie Peters, and Chris Givens.

An indictment contains only allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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