FAYETTEVILLE — Five defendants who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking drew sentences ranging from four to 40 years in prison on federal charges of participating in a meth ring centered in Northwest Arkansas.
Conner Eldridge, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced Thursday that the defendants received sentences totaling 60 years in prison this week before U.S. District Judge Jimm Hendren.
The five were arrested in December 2012 following a two-month investigation known as "West End Gambler." Agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration recovered approximately 6.9 kilograms of methamphetamine, digital scales, a firearm and ammunition from the Springdale residence of Arturo Vaca-Raya, who authorities identified as the ring leader.
The defendants were named in March in an eight-count federal indictment that included charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute meth and money laundering. All of them pleaded guilty in April.
Vaca-Raya, 41, was sentenced to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole and five years of supervised release for possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Alfonzo Morales, 27, of Springdale, was sentenced to 12 years in prison without the possibility of parole and three years of supervised release for the distribution of methamphetamine. Authorities said he sold two ounces of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.
Griselda Monroy, age 29 of Springdale, was sentenced to 48 months in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine for aiding and abetting in money laundering. Authorities said he wired money derived from drug trafficking to Mexico and elsewhere.
Maria Molina, 31, of Dallas, was sentenced to 48 months in prison without the possibility of parole and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Manuel Vaca, 20, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to five years of probation for using a cell phone to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine.