TWO FORT SMITH RESIDENTS SENTENCED TO A COMBINED TOTAL OF OVER 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE METHAMPHETAMINE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2013
Fort Smith, Arkansas - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Juan Carlos Murcia-Saldana, age 36 of El Salvador and residing in Fort Smith, and Estella Chavez, age 47 of Fort Smith, were sentenced today for the distribution of methamphetamine. Murcia-Saldana was sentenced to 108 months in prison with three years of supervised release, and Chavez was sentenced to 97 months in prison with three years of supervised release. The sentencing took place before the Honorable P. K. Holmes III in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
United States Attorney Eldridge stated, “Prosecuting those involved in drug trafficking in our communities, including Fort Smith, remains a top priority of this office. We will continue to work with law enforcement to do all we can to identify drug trafficking activity in our district and to prosecute individuals responsible for it.”
According to court records, beginning in January of 2013, Carlos Murcia-Saldana and Estella Chavez were investigated for selling methamphetamine in Crawford and Sebastian County. On January 31, 2013, a confidential informant with the Fort Smith Police Department conducted a controlled buy of two ounces of methamphetamine from Murcia-Saldana and Chavez. On February 14, 2013, a second controlled buy of two ounces of methamphetamine was conducted from Murcia-Saldana and Chavez. Following the controlled buys, law enforcement executed a search warrant on their residence and discovered three ounces of methamphetamine, $2,570 in cash, and digital scales. Upon being advised of their Miranda rights, Murcia-Saldana and Chavez admitted to selling methamphetamine on a weekly basis. They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine on June 6, 2013.
The cases were investigated by the Fort Smith Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wulff prosecuted the cases for the United States.
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