November 20, 2013
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Fort Smith Man Sentenced To Over 17 Years On Charges Related To Lavaca Elementary School Incident
FORT SMITH, Ark. - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, along with DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown, announced that Esteban Arreola, 29, was sentenced today on charges for possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of actual methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in a school zone. Arreola was sentenced to 210 months imprisonment with five years of supervised release. United States District Judge P.K. Holmes III presided over the sentencing in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “The realization that this Defendant was on school property with loaded weapons and a significant amount of drugs is extremely frightening. Without the immediate action taken by the teacher and law enforcement, the scenario could have been quite different. We are thankful to each of the individuals and agencies that were involved in doing their part in bringing this Defendant to justice. We will continue to work vigilantly to investigate and prosecute these types of cases to keep our children and our community safe from this type of activity.”
According to court documents filed in the case, on March 14, 2013, a teacher at Lavaca Elementary School observed a man on school property with a pistol inside his vehicle and notified the police. Law enforcement subsequently observed this vehicle speeding down the highway and initiated a traffic stop. The officers identified the driver as Esteban Arreola and observed an open container of alcohol and the odor of freshly burned marijuana in the vehicle. The officers arrested Arreola and impounded his vehicle. During an inventory search of his vehicle, the officers discovered a rifle with a loaded magazine, a pistol with a loaded magazine, and approximately 158 grams of actual methamphetamine, some of which was packaged in small plastic baggies.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Lavaca Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Candace Taylor prosecuted the case for the United States.