DEA Arrests 23 in River Valley Drug Trafficking Operation

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Twenty three people in the River Valley are arrested in connection to a drug trafficking operation in Mexico.

Operation “Great Scott” was a year-long investigation that led to the arrest. They’re accused of distributing illegal drugs, according to United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge.

 “Over 12 pounds of methamphetamine has been seized, over 70 pounds of marijuana, 28 guns, two bullet proof vests, and over $50,000 in cash,” said Eldridge.

 A dangerous operation happening in our own backyard.

'One part of this case that`s troubling is that several juveniles, several kids under the age of 18, were used to distribute," said Eldridge.

In a media conference Wednesday afternoon, Eldridge said the organization was distributing the drugs through several “stash houses” in Fort Smith, Mena, and surrounding areas. It was based in Waldron with drugs coming from Mexico.

“Up through Dallas and then being brought into Waldron and distributed in Western Arkansas,” said Eldridge.

 Eldridge credits the cooperation of community leaders and several law enforcement agencies working together to end the drug trafficking.

'We're not going to stop here. We`re going to continue to try to identify large, violent organizations that are operating in our communities and prosecute them.'

Prosecutors say conspiracy to distribute meth holds a punishment of up to life in prison.

The following people were arrested and charged, according to court documents:
Miguel Paramo
Daniel Cruz
Lee Roy Garcia
Cody Pittman
Benjamin Chronister
Jaime Villareal
Christian Bonilla
Amadeo Cardenas
Daniel Valdez
Juan Garcia
Javier Villareal
Fernando Perez
Armando Arce
Carlton Mathew
Juan Vasquez
Sandra Payne
Gilberto Avila