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Press Release

Hot Springs Man Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking and Firearms Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced today to a total of 211 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

In June of 2019, agents with the Arkansas State Police and detectives from the 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation into Antone Nicklaus Costa, age 42, for the distribution of methamphetamine in the Garland County area. Between the dates of June 20, 2019, and July 23, 2019, law enforcement officers conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Costa.

On September 16, 2019, an Arkansas State Police Trooper made a traffic stop on Costa and took him into custody.  A search of his person revealed approximately 4 grams of methamphetamine, 29 suspected Clonazapam tablets and $823.00 dollars in U.S. currency.  In the passenger's seat of the vehicle being operated by Costa, the officers observed in plain view, a loaded 9mm handgun.

Costa was transported back to his residence and a search was conducted. The search resulted in officers locating a stolen .45 caliber handgun, an additional handgun, ammunition, and multiple empty baggies.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Harris and Kim Harris prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Updated June 17, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking