News and Press Releases

THREE DEFENDANTS SENTENCED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2011

 






Fort Smith- Three defendants were sentenced today in federal court to prison terms ranging up to 11 years in prison, in unrelated drug trafficking crimes, announced Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. The Defendants sentenced and their sentences are: Cristobal Arellano-Gutierrez sentenced to 10 years in prison, Cristian Zavalza sentenced to 11 years in prison and Jesus Corral sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas commented, “Our office remains focused on prosecuting those who traffic in drugs–including the defendants in these cases who were responsible for large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine. The drug trade preys on our communities in so many ways and we are dedicated to prosecuting those responsible.”

Cristobal Arellano-Gutierrez, age 58, of Houston, Texas was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. United States District Judge Paul K. Holmes ordered Arellano-Gutierrez to serve 5 years supervised release upon his release from prison.

Arellano-Gutierrez entered a plea of guilty on May 25, 2011, to Possession with Intent to Distribute more than 5 Kilograms of Cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(ii). According to court documents, on January 22, 2011, Arkansas State Police Trooper Corporal George Summerlin made a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling eastbound on Interstate 40 in Johnson County. Arellano-Gutierrez was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, Trooper Summerlin discovered approximately 15.8 pounds of cocaine hidden in the drive shaft of the vehicle.

This case was investigated by the Arkansas State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenny Elser of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

Cristian Zavalza, age 30, of Fort Smith, Arkansas and Jesus Corral, age 29 of Fort Smith, Arkansas were sentenced on December 1, 2011 by United States District Judge Paul K. Holmes. Zavalza was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, ordered to pay $ 5,000 in fines, and ordered to serve 5 years supervised release upon his release from prison. Corral was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, ordered to pay $5,000 in fines, and ordered to serve 5 years supervised release upon his release from prison.

Zavalza and Corral plead guilty on May 26, 2011, to Conspiracy to Distribute more than 500 grams of Methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. According to court documents, on January 27, 2011, Fort Smith Police Department narcotics detectives were conducting an investigation regarding methamphetamine distribution in Fort Smith. As a result of that investigation, a traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle driven by Jesus Corral. Officers seized a baggie containing approximately 25 grams of methamphetamine and $3,251 in cash from the vehicle. Officers also discovered approximately 276 grams of methamphetamine belonging to Corral at a residence in Fort Smith and subsequently seized a package containing approximately 677 grams of methamphetamine that had been sent to the same residence.

Further investigation revealed that Zavalza was involved with Corral in distributing methamphetamine. A search warrant was obtained for Zavalza’s residence and executed on January 27, 2011. During the execution of the search warrant, Zavalza was interviewed by law enforcement officers after being advised of his Miranda rights. Zavalza admitted to being involved in distributing methamphetamine and further admitted that he had obtained 2 pounds of methamphetamine from a source of supply in California that was distributed in the Fort Smith area.

This case was investigated by the Fort Smith Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenny Elser of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

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