15 Convicted In Northwest Arkansas Drug Trafficking Ring

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — 15 people have been sentenced for their roles in a methamphetamine trafficking ring operated in Northwest Arkansas.

The 15 people were convicted as part of “Operation Ozark Express” and have been sentenced to over 1,000 months in prison combined.

The investigation and prosecution began in 2017 and on Tuesday (April 2) the final suspect was sentenced.

According to court records, on July 24, 2018, a federal grand jury returned two indictments containing a total of 16 counts against 15 individuals in the Northwest Arkansas area and beyond for activities in a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy. Outside of our area, it also operated in California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Arizona and Mexico.

This drug trafficking ring brought multiple kilograms of methamphetamine into the Northwest Arkansas area from California and Mexico for local distribution.

Once sold, bulk amounts of U.S. currency were driven back to Mexico as payment for the methamphetamine via the Laredo, Texas port of entry.

The individuals were arrested in operations conducted by the DEA with the help of the Fayetteville and Springdale, Arkansas police departments on May 18, 2018.

Defendants in this conspiracy received the following sentences:

           Pedro Zambrano, age 23, of Phoenix, Arizona was sentenced April 2, 2019 to 20 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. Zambrano was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 7, 2018.

Pedro Zambrano, 23

            Alexis Rios-Tamayo age 21, of Phoenix, Arizona was sentenced January 22, 2019 to 41 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.  Rios-Tamayo was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on August 10, 2018.

            Eduwijes Cervantes-Mendoza, age 58, a citizen of Mexico residing in Springdale, Arkansas was sentenced January 22, 2019 to 210 months (over 17 years) in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of Methamphetamine. Cervantes-Mendoza was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 7, 2018.

            Santana Gonzales-Aguirre, age 45, a citizen of Mexico residing in Bentonville, Arkansas was sentenced February 6, 2019 to 15 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute of Methamphetamine. Gonzales-Aguirre was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 7, 2018.

            Gregory Miranda, age 23, of Ventura, California was sentenced February 6, 2019 to 15 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Miranda was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 21, 2018.

            Michael Shannon Howard, age 52, of Green Forest, Arkansas was sentenced February 6, 2019 to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Howard was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on July 16, 2018.

            John Paul Farias, age 39, of Springdale, Arkansas was sentenced February 6, 2019 to 121 months (over 10 years) in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Farias was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 28, 2018.

Miguel Saldana, 24

            Miguel Saldana, age 24, of Boone County, Arkansas was sentenced April 1, 2019 to 120 months (10 years) in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Saldana was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 28, 2018.

            Sarahi Flores-Quintero, age 22, of Phoenix, Arizona was sentenced February 5, 2019 to 40 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Flores-Quintero was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 28, 2018.

            Victor Sanchez-Hernandez, age 47, a citizen of Mexico residing in Hindsville, Arkansas was sentenced February 5, 2019 to 20 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of a Methamphetamine. Sanchez-Hernandez was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on July 9, 2018.

Victor Sanchez-Hernandez, 47

            Jose Octavio Sanchez, age 21, of Hindsville, Arkansas was sentenced February 5, 2019 to 12 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm. Sanchez was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 28, 2018.

            Elizabeth Ramirez, age 30, of Springdale, Arkansas was sentenced February 5, 2019 to 44 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. Ramirez was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on June 25, 2018.

            Jesus “Don Chuey” Ramirez-Santoyo, age 63, of Tulsa, Oklahoma was sentenced February 5, 2019 to 48 months (4 years) in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. Ramirez-Santoyo was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in June 2018 and plead guilty on September 7, 2018.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.