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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 29, 2016

Major Player in Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to Twelve and One-Half Years in Federal Prison

          Fort Smith, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Jose Mendez-Alvarado, age 39 of Fort Smith, was sentenced today to 150 months in federal prison followed by five (5) years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute More than 50 Grams of Actual Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting. Twelve other defendants who were a part of this drug trafficking organization in the Fort Smith area were previously sentenced to federal prison. The Honorable Chief Judge P.K. Holmes, III presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.

            According to court records, in November 2014, law enforcement in Fort Smith learned that large quantities of methamphetamine were being distributed in the area by Jose Mendez-Alvarado, and other members of a drug trafficking organization.  Over the course of the next several months, investigators conducted six separate controlled purchases from Mendez-Alvarado and his associates.  In early June 2015, Mendez-Alvarado traveled to California to pick up a large amount of methamphetamine and bring it back to Fort Smith for distribution.  On his way back from California in mid-June, Mendez-Alvarado was stopped for a traffic violation in Fort Smith and approximately 11 pounds of methamphetamine was seized by law enforcement.  Each of the defendants was indicted by a federal grand jury in September, 2015. 

            Listed below are the other defendants, their charges, and their sentences:

  • Armando Picazo, age 30 of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release on each of two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute More than 50 Grams of Actual Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting.  The sentences will run concurrent with each other. 

     

  • Ascencion Salas-Macias, age 31, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release for Possession with Intent to Distribute More than 50 Grams of Actual Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting

     

  • Amber Nicole Cottrell, age 28 of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Casey Allen Cottrell, age 31, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • John Wayne Davis, age 41, of Cabot, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Aris Orellana, age 29, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Erick Padilla, age 35, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Maria D. Jesus Martinez, age 33, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Joseph Glenn Kutter, age 31 of Van Buren, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Jose Quinones, age 37, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Melinda Sue Quinones, age 39, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and two years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Noel Ramirez-Osorio, age 31, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

     

  • Roxana Cardona, age 32, of Revere, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

     

  • Jose Christian Lemus-Vanegas, age 34, of Houston, Texas pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine in May, 2016 and is awaiting sentencing.   

     

            “The successful prosecution and sentencing of members of this drug trafficking organization, to include Jose Mendez-Alvarado, should be a warning to anyone thinking of polluting our communities with this addictive substance,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam.  “DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to investigating illegal organizations that profit from the distribution of methamphetamine as well as educating the public as to the dangers of this deadly scourge.”

            Agencies that took part in the investigation were the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Fort Smith Police Department, The Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, and the 12th Judicial District Drug Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Candace Taylor prosecuted the case for the United States.

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Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated September 29, 2016