Northwest Arkansas Fentanyl Distributors Sentenced to Combined 52 Years in Federal Prison in Drug Overdose Death Cases
An Arkansas man was sentenced Nov. 6 to 14 years in federal prison, without the possibility of parole, on one count of Possession of Fentanyl with the Intent to Distribute. The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
In early 2022, Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were actively investigating the distribution of fentanyl in and around Northwest Arkansas, according to court documents and public hearings. During the investigation, DEA agents identified Marchello Stephano Oliver, 34, of Farmington, Ark., as a fentanyl distributor. From March 1 and March 25, 2022, DEA agents, utilizing a confidential informant, made two separate undercover purchases of fentanyl directly from Oliver. On March 25, 2022, DEA agents executed a search warrant at Oliver’s Farmington residence, and located, among other items, over 700 individual doses of fentanyl, over 100 grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, and a loaded firearm. During a post-Miranda interview, Oliver admitted to distributing fentanyl in both powder and counterfeit pill form, as well as other controlled substances, in Northwest, Arkansas. On March 30, 2023, Oliver pleaded guilty to federal charges of Possessing Fentanyl with the Intent to Distribute.
At Oliver’s sentencing hearing, the United States Attorney’s Office presented the Court with testimony and evidence establishing that on February 11, 2022, Oliver distributed powder fentanyl that directly caused the overdose death of a 47-year-old mother and wife from Rogers, Arkansas. Based on the evidence linking Oliver’s drug distribution activities to the overdose death of her, and other aggravating factors, the Court increased Oliver’s sentencing range, and ultimately imposed a 14-year-term of imprisonment.
Prior to Oliver’s sentencing, an indicted co-conspirator, Ethan Scott Driskill, 33, was sentenced to serve 38 years in federal prison for distributing fentanyl that resulted in the death of a 29-year-old male Fayetteville resident. Per previously disclosed information, on February 3, 2022, the Fayetteville Police Department responded to a 911 call that reported the location of a dead body in an apartment building on Mt. Sequoya. Upon arriving to the scene, officers located the deceased body of the 29-year-old male. Next to the deceased’s body, officers located a syringe and a small amount of a white substance, later determined to be fentanyl. Shortly after, family members of the deceased contact agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Fayetteville Resident Office, who launched a federal investigation.
DEA agents determined that on the night of January 31, 2022, the deceased and his girlfriend combined their money to purchase what they believed was heroin from Driskill.
During the ensuing investigation, DEA agents conducted two undercover purchases of fentanyl directly from Driskill. On or about February 12, 2022, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Driskill’s Farmington residence and located, among other items, approximately 730 counterfeit pills containing Fentanyl, 240 gross grams of Fentanyl powder, and two firearms. Driskill and his wife, Amber Adair, were arrested. During a post-Miranda interview, Driskill admitted to selling fentanyl in both powder and counterfeit pill form in Northwest Arkansas. At the time of this conduct, Driskill was on active supervision from Arkansas Probation and Parole based on a previous state felony conviction.
Other members of the drug trafficking organization indicted federally are as follows:
Amber Nichole Adair, 28, of Farmington, was sentenced to 96 months of imprisonment and a four-year term of supervised release for aiding and abetting Driskill, in the Possession of 40 grams or more of Fentanyl with the Intent to Distribute.
U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes, of the Western District of Arkansas, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jarad Harper, of the Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock Field Office, made the announcement.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Benton County Sheriff’s Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Bentonville Police Department, Rogers Police Department, Benton County Drug Unit, Farmington Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department, Springdale Police Department, 4th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas National Guard Counter Drug Unit investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Harris prosecuted the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov. WDAR Case No. 5:22 CR 50032-001-003.