LITTLE ROCK—Aaron “Black” Clark, who sold kilograms of heroin and cocaine out of his west Little Rock home, will spend the next 30 years in federal prison. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the FBI, announced the sentencing of Clark, 35, of Little Rock, on Thursday morning. Clark was arrested on May 24, 2017, as part of a major operation targeting several drug-trafficking organizations in central Arkansas.
United States District Court Judge James M. Moody sentenced Clark to 360 months’ imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release after Clark pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, count one of a 67-count indictment that charged 33 people in Clark’s drug-trafficking organization. In addition to the prison sentence, Clark forfeited $174,034 in cash, a diamond necklace, a Toyota Avalon and Dodge Charger, and seven firearms.
Clark, who has previously been convicted of federal drug crimes in Texas, pleaded guilty on October 26, 2017. At that hearing, Clark admitted that he was selling cocaine and heroin to dozens of people in the Little Rock area. Clark’s primary supplier was from El Paso, Texas. Based on multiple wiretaps on Clark’s phones, law enforcement agents were aware that he was obtaining and selling kilograms of cocaine for $31,500 each, as well as large quantities of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.
“Little Rock is a safer place with Aaron Clark in federal prison for 30 years,” Hiland said. “This repeat criminal made a living selling deadly drugs on our streets and spreading his toxic, destructive influence within our community. Removing violent, repeat offenders like Clark will continue to be a priority for this office in the coming weeks and months, and criminals who want to engage in similar activities should look at today’s sentence and know similar consequences await you.”
“It is our goal to maximize the intensity of the pressure applied to repeat criminals in our district,” Hiland continued. “To that end, this office saw a record 73 indictments returned last month by a federal grand jury. That number is a very tangible reflection of our efforts to partner with local law enforcement to combat pervasive criminal activity in our hometown communities by unapologetically seeking the removal of repeat criminals to federal prison.”
On November 17, 2016, agents executed a search warrant at Clark’s west Little Rock residence. Agents seized more than $115,000 cash, jewelry, the two vehicles, 170 grams of heroin, a marijuana grow operation, and six firearms. Clark was not arrested at that time, and agents discovered that he continued to distribute narcotics.
After the November search warrant, Clark moved to a new west Little Rock residence. In May 2017, agents executed a search warrant at the new residence, as well as at an apartment Clark used to distribute narcotics. At these residences, agents seized another $55,353 cash, 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a handgun, assorted ammunition, and a press used to package narcotics.
“Today’s sentencing of Clark illustrates the FBI’s commitment to work with our partners to prosecute individuals who sell dangerous drugs in our communities,” FBI SAC Upchurch said. “We extend our gratitude to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas and the FBI’s MET Rock Task Force which includes our law enforcement partners at the Little Rock Police Department and North Little Rock Police Department.”
In addition to Clark, five other defendants from his indictment have pleaded guilty and been sentenced. Four others are awaiting sentencing following their guilty pleas, and one defendant has a change of plea hearing scheduled. Twenty-two defendants are facing a pending trial on August 20, 2018. Hector Soto, believed to be Clark’s El Paso supplier, remains a fugitive.
The primary investigation into Clark was conducted by FBI’s Met Rock Task Force, in coordination with the Little Rock Police Department and North Little Rock Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Benecia Moore is prosecuting the case.