February 04, 2015
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Northwest Arkansas Man Found Guilty On Four Counts Related To Distribution Of Methamphetamine
FORT SMITH, Ark. - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Downing and Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Fernando Canales-Mendoza, age 52, a Mexican citizen living in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was found guilty on two counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine, one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute more than 50 grams of Methamphetamine, and one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine following a two day jury trial in Fort Smith. The Honorable Robert T. Dawson presided over the trial in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “Children in Carroll County and across the Western District of Arkansas deserve to grow up in communities free from illegal drug trafficking and the violence and other crime that comes with it. With the defendant’s conviction today, another positive step forward has been taken for Arkansans. Our office remains devoted to aggressively prosecuting those responsible for bringing methamphetamine and other drugs into our communities.”
According to evidence presented to the jury, on April 30, 2014, as part of an ongoing investigation, an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement (DEA) purchased one ounce of methamphetamine from the defendant, Canales-Mendoza, in his home in exchange for $1,400.00, and was provided an additional ounce to be paid for at a later time. On May 7, 2014, the undercover agent paid the defendant $1,500.00 for that ounce, and purchased an additional ounce of methamphetamine for $1,400.00. On August 27, 2014, the undercover agent met with the defendant again, and requested an additional four ounces of methamphetamine. The defendant then showed the undercover agent approximately three to three and a half ounces of methamphetamine he did have, which prompted the agent to respond that he would leave in order to get additional funds to purchase the methamphetamine. Once the agent left the meeting with the defendant, DEA agents executed an arrest warrant on Canales-Mendoza and a search warrant on his place of business, where they confiscated approximately 137 grams of methamphetamine.
The defendant faces a sentence of ten years to life in prison, up to a $10,000,000 fine, or both. The sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violations. The sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum for each count in this case, and in most cases will be less than the maximum.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Brandon Carter and Sydney Butler prosecuted the case for the United States.