January 12, 2017
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Two Central Arkansas Men Sentenced For Federal Drug And Firearms Violations
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Paul Goston, age 40 of Little Rock, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 41 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release on one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm announced Drug Enforcement (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matthew Bardan and Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. Goston’s Co-Defendant, Jeffery Atkins, 39 of England, Arkansas, was previously sentenced to 74 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release on one count each of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense.
According to court records, on November 8, 2015, DEA agents and Task Force Officers established surveillance on Atkins as part of an undercover operation. Agents observed Atkins leave his Little Rock residence and pickup Goston, at which point they headed towards Northwest Arkansas. Later that day a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Atkins drove and Goston was a front seat passenger. When the deputy made contact with the occupants of the vehicle, he could smell the odor of marijuana inside. Prior to searching the vehicle, the deputy was advised that there was a gun under the seat and located a Smith and Wesson 9 mm caliber pistol in the floorboard behind the driver’s seat, and 98.7 grams of actual methamphetamine. Goston was interviewed and acknowledged that he located the gun underneath his seat during the trip from Little Rock to Fayetteville and that he had grabbed it and passed it to Atkins. At the time, both defendants had at least one prior felony conviction and were prohibited from possessing firearms. Atkins and Goston were indicted by a federal grand jury in December, 2015 and pleaded guilty in the Summer of 2016.
“Nothing is more important than keeping our communities safe. DEA and our local law enforcement partners will continue to utilize our combined resources to target individuals trafficking drugs and guns, threating the safety of our citizens in the Western District of Arkansas. These sentences should send a strong, unified message that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated in our communities, and that those accused of committing these offenses will be brought to justice," stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matthew Barden.
This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, which is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of firearms and improving the safety of residents in the Western District of Arkansas. Participants in the initiative include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
This case was investigated by the DEA and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.