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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 16, 2019

Three Defendants Convicted As Part Of “Operation Iced Ozarks” Sentenced For Drug Trafficking

Fort Smith, Arkansas – Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas; announced that on December 16, 2019, three (3) individuals were sentenced by the United States District Court for their roles in a methamphetamine trafficking ring which operated in Boone and Carroll Counties in Arkansas and other jurisdictions such as California and Iowa.  This investigation and prosecution operation lasted from approximately February of 2019 through today’s final sentencing hearing. The Honorable Judge P.K. Holmes, III presided over the sentencing hearings today in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.

According to court records, on April 5, 2019, a search warrant was obtained by the FBI and served on a home in Alpena, Arkansas, where over 140 gross pounds of methamphetamine was located.  The home was owned by defendant Walter Alvarez, who allowed his son Jason Alvarez, and an associate, Daniel Perez-Lebron to receive large quantities of methamphetamine at the location and prepare it for sale in both the Western District of Arkansas and in Iowa.  It appeared from the evidence that the methamphetamine would arrive concealed within special compartments inside the wheels of vehicles in a compressed state, requiring the methamphetamine to be reconstituted in order to be sold and consumed.  This reconstituting process required chemicals such as acetone, of which a large amount was located along with the methamphetamine.     

Defendants in this conspiracy received the following sentences:

Jason Alvarez, age 34, of Harrison, Arkansas was sentenced December 16, 2019 to 292 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.  Jason Alvarez was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on May 8, 2019 and plead guilty on August 7, 2019. 

Walter Alvarez, age 58, of Alpena, Arkansas was sentenced December 16, 2019 to 120 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.  Walter Alvarez was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on May 8, 2019 and plead guilty on August 7, 2019.    

Daniel Perez-Lebron, age 27, of Harrison, Arkansas was sentenced December 16, 2019 to 180 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.  Perez-Lebron was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on May 8, 2019 and plead guilty on August 12, 2019.

The Harrison-based methamphetamine distribution network for a portion of the methamphetamine seized from Jason Alvarez, Walter Alvarez, and Daniel Perez-Lebron is pending sentencing before the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in the related case, United States vs. Manning et. al., case number 3:19 CR 30003.  The twenty-one defendants in this related matter have all been convicted and are expected to be sentenced in early 2020. 

 This prosecution was part of the Western District of Arkansas’ Operation Iced Ozarks, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy.  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illicit drug supply.

This OCDETF case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Fayetteville, Arkansas; the State of Arkansas Fourteenth (14th) Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Harrison Police Department, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office; the Arkansas State Police; and the Arkansas National Guard Counter-Drug Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Carter prosecuted the case for the Western District of Arkansas.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated December 16, 2019