TWO SENTENCED AND ONE PLEADS GUILTY TO UNRELATED FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM CHARGES; ONE SENTENCED FOR POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE CRACK COCAINE; AND FIVE PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE COCAINE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2013
Hot Springs, Arkansas - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that the following defendants pleaded guilty or were sentenced yesterday and today in federal court. United States District Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the matters in Hot Springs District Court.
United States Attorney Eldridge stated, “We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting felon in possession of firearms and drug crimes in Hot Springs, Arkadelphia, Gurdon, and throughout the Western District. Our commitment to these cases enables us to do our part in keeping our communities safe from drugs and violence.”
James Pitts, age 27 of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 105 months imprisonment without the possibility of parole and three years of supervised release for possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine. Pitts was originally indicted on December 13, 2011. He pleaded guilty on November 14, 2012.
Jermaine Ray, age 29 of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced Thursday to 111 months imprisonment without the possibility of parole and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was originally indicted on November 2, 2011. On April 10, 2012, Ray was named in a four-count superseding indictment. The superseding indictment included charges against Ray for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The conduct occurred on or about July 8, 2011. Ray pleaded guilty on November 9, 2012.
Dominique Buffington, age 24 of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 70 months imprisonment without the possibility of parole and two years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Buffington was indicted on May 22, 2012 and pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment on October 4, 2012. According to court documents, Buffington, a convicted felon at the time, possessed a .380 caliber pistol on or about October 4, 2011.
Alonzo Brodie, age 27; Audrey Solomon, age 29; Latasha Rowland, age 27; Michael Brooks, age 29, all of Raleigh, North Carolina; and Eddie Smith, age 29 of West Helena,
Arkansas, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. The defendants were originally indicted on August 22, 2012. According to court documents, a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was performing routine patrol on Interstate 30 near Hot Springs on April 6, 2012. The officer noticed two cars that appeared to be traveling together. The lead car was speeding, and the officer initiated a traffic stop. The car was driven by Solomon and Rowland was a passenger. The officer asked for permission to search the vehicle and discovered approximately 1.5 kilograms of cocaine. The officer then contacted another police unit to stop the other car in the caravan. The second car contained Smith, Brodie, and Brooks. Further investigation revealed that the two groups were working together to transport the drugs discovered in the first car. At sentencing, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000,000.
Myron Shorts, age 50 of Gurdon, Arkansas, pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Shorts was indicted on October 11, 2012. According to court documents, on May 13, 2012, Arkadelphia Police Department officers were responding to a 911 call relating to a shooting at a local residence. When they arrived at the scene, they found Shorts. Officers then discovered that Shorts had a pistol, and a criminal history check revealed he was a convicted felon. At sentencing, Shorts will face a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Assistant United States Attorney David Harris represented the United States in the matters.
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