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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 1, 2021

DEA, IRS Dismantle Eastern Arkansas Methamphetamine and Money Laundering Organization

      LITTLE ROCK—The final defendant in a multi-person indictment was sentenced to federal prison on Thursday, effectively bringing to a close the significant criminal activities of an eastern Arkansas drug trafficking and money laundering organization.

      On Thursday, United States District Judge James M. Moody sentenced Termaine Ontario Slaughter, 36, of Parkin, to 90 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release. On November 18, 2020, Slaughter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Slaughter is the fourth and final defendant to be sentenced in an Indictment that was filed on June 6, 2018. Three of the defendants received federal prison sentences.

      “Our office and our federal partners will use every resource available to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking organizations in Arkansas,” said Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “In this case, we tracked the money, and it led us to straight to criminals who were trying to poison our communities. As these drug traffickers learned, if you choose this line of work, enjoy the money while you can, because it won’t last nearly as long as your prison sentence.”

      Beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2018, Slaughter, Demario Smith, 40, of Southaven, Miss., Elliott Davis, 41, of Colt, Montana Smith, 45, of Parkin, and others were involved in the distribution of methamphetamine in the Forrest City area. Slaughter and Demario Smith used drug proceeds to fund a trucking business called Prudent Transport and a rental property business called Upscale Properties. Evidence showed that Slaughter and his associates imported methamphetamine from the Dallas area using couriers who rode the Megabus from Memphis to Dallas and back. The organization also imported methamphetamine from California using the United States mail and other mailing services.

      An extensive analysis of records from the trucking business and rental properties showed that from 2013-2017 Slaughter’s personal and business accounts had $733,811 in deposits coming from unidentified sources. Analysis showed that there were $877,359.60 in cash expenditures on vehicles and other items that did not come from the accounts, including the purchase of tractor trailers for the trucking business. Bank records revealed that cash deposits in amounts under $10,000 were systematically made at bank branches in Memphis, Mississippi, and Arkansas, with corresponding amounts of cash being withdrawn from other bank locations on the same date or close in time.

      “This investigation is an extraordinary example of thorough and methodical financial exploitation in order to disrupt and dismantle the financial infrastructure of these methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations,” Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jarad Harper said. “The DEA will relentlessly pursue, exploit, and seize these illicit assets drug traffickers intentionally and nefariously conceal to circumvent reporting requirements. Working with all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to combine our resources in order to identify these ill-gotten funds used to facilitate drug trafficking and violent crime in our region. By depleting these drug traffickers of their proceeds and eliminating their ability to continue distributing this poison in Arkansas and beyond, we are saving lives.”

      “The defendants in this case created a drug distribution and money laundering enterprise that spread methamphetamine throughout eastern Arkansas, and beyond,” stated Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus, Jr., IRS-Criminal Investigation, Dallas Field Office. “The IRS special agents used their financial expertise to trace the profits of this criminal activity through numerous bank accounts across multiple states. I commend my agents for effectively shutting down this devastating pipeline of poison into eastern Arkansas and the surrounding communities.”

      On November 19, 2020, Demario Smith pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and on May 26, 2021, was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment. On November 19, 2020, Davis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and on June 8, 2021, he was sentenced to 51 months’ imprisonment. On November 19, 2020, Montana Smith pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, and on June 9, 2021, he was sentenced to five years’ probation.

      During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, in addition to receiving his prison sentence, Slaughter agreed to forfeit numerous firearms and five vehicles, including four over-the-road trucks used by Prudent Transport and a Dodge Challenger. 

      This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

      The case was primarily investigated by the DEA-Little Rock Field Office and IRS-Criminal Investigation, along with assistance from the Little Rock Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Anne Gardner prosecuted the case.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available online at

https://www.justice.gov/edar

 

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@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Updated October 1, 2021