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Sep 16, 2020 | ,

SUBJECT ARRESTED IN PARIS IN DTF INVESTIGATION    Thursday morning at approximately 6:15 a.m., the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, the Paris Police Department, the Arkansas State Police, and the 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force assisted a federal task force in executing federal search warrants at a residence on South 4th Street in Paris and at a residence on Church Street in Ratcliff in regards to a multi-state drug investigation that included suspect Benjamin Valdez of Paris as well as many others. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Valdez and he was taken into custody.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Department’s part in this investigation started last year by our Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigator who was investigating methamphetamine trafficking by Benjamin Valdez. This investigation included traffic stops by  deputies, officers of the Paris Police Department, and our local Arkansas State troopers. Our Narcotics Investigator had contacts with the Drug Enforcement Agency office in Fort Smith and contacted the D.E.A. in regards to his investigation. Through their cooperation, they found out that Benjamin Valdez is allegedly part of a larger drug ring that the D.E.A., F.B.I., and local agencies were investigating in the Fort Smith area. As stated in the press release below from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this drug ring is “a violent methamphetamine trafficking organization, with direct ties to Mexico and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel …” Fourteen people were arrested in several counties in our area today. This prosecution effort is part of the United States Western District of Arkansas’ Operation Bear Mountain Bingo, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.

Due to the search warrant executions and the arrest of Benjamin Valdez, the Paris Police Department obtained a search warrant for an old business on East Walnut Street where Valdez was arrested this morning. After executing the search warrant with the assistance of the federal task force and the Sheriff’s Office, Paris Police officers arrested Billy Garcia and he will face local drug charges.

Below is the official Press Release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this event.

– Sheriff Jason W. Massey

14 ARRESTED THUIRSDAY IN FEDERAL DRUG SWEEP   14 individuals were arrested Thursday by federal, state, and local law enforcement in Sebastian, Crawford, and Logan Counties as part of a roundup following an over year-long investigation into methamphetamine trafficking.

In August 2020, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging several individuals in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area with a large-scale, multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy.

“The DEA, in collaboration with our Federal, State and Local law enforcement partners, took down a violent methamphetamine trafficking organization, with direct ties to Mexico and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, whose tentacles extended beyond Arkansas to many other states,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.  “These violent offenders not only sold large quantities of methamphetamine, but also used firearms and committed acts of violence in furtherance of their crimes.  Because of persistent and collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies in the area, a major supplier of methamphetamine to this region of Arkansas is out of business.”

The defendants who were arrested today (Benjamin “Ben” Valdez, Amber Renee Vance, Emily Elizabeth Williams, and Michael Dean Wilson, Manuel “Chuy” De Jesus Perez-Echeverria, Humberto “Beto” Acosta-Martinez, Julio Ivan Enriquez-Munoz, Alberto Ledesma, Efrain Maciel-Martinez, Traye Everett Martin, Julie Ann Pyles, Ezequiel Rodriguez, Paula Lynne Rider, Ronal Salinas,) will be scheduled to appear in the United States District in Fort Smith before United States Magistrate Judge Mark Ford in the coming days.


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