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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

6 people sentenced for trafficking meth in NWA

In total, more than 13 kilograms of pure meth was seized as part of this operation. In total, the six individuals were sentenced to over 75 years combined.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Thursday (April 14) the final of six individuals were sentenced by the United States District Court for their roles in a methamphetamine trafficking ring that operated in Benton County and other jurisdictions such as California and Missouri. 

This investigation and prosecution, named “Operation Inner Circle,” lasted from January of 2019 through Thursday’s final sentencing hearing.

According to court records, in early 2019, Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville initiated an investigation which revealed that a methamphetamine distributor in Los Angeles, Zeache Dupree Rose, would supply meth to local sellers Michael James Smith, Craig Ryan Kelley and Joseph A. James, who would sell it in smaller amounts locally in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. 

In order to transport the meth from California to Arkansas, Rose would utilize couriers DaJohn Alexander and Marcus A. Jones, who would transport the drugs in luggage smuggled on to commercial aircraft or buses traveling from California to Arkansas.

In total, more than 13 kilograms of pure methamphetamine was seized as part of this operation.

Defendants in this conspiracy received the following sentences:

Zeache Dupree Rose, age 25, the leader of the organization from Los Angeles, California was sentenced Dec. 18, 2020 to 180 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Meth and one count of money laundering. Rose was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on March 4, 2020 and plead guilty on July 1, 2020. 

Michael James Smith, age 43, a distributor of meth from Anderson, Missouri was sentenced Oct. 7, 2020 to 151 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Possession With Intent to Distribute More Than Fifty (50) Grams of Meth. Smith was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on Nov. 20, 2019 and plead guilty on Dec. 9, 2019.

Joseph A. James, age 39, a distributor of meth from Siloam Springs, Arkansas was sentenced Dec. 8, 2020 to 121 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute More Than Five-Hundred (500) Grams of a Mixture or Substance Containing Meth. James was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on August 16, 2019 and plead guilty on Oct. 3, 2019.

Craig Ryan Kelley, age 45, a distributor of methamphetamine from Eureka Springs, Arkansas was sentenced Aug. 12, 2020 to 240 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of More Than Five (5) Grams of Meth. Kelley was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas on March 4, 2020 and plead guilty on May 1, 2020.

DaJohn Lequor Alexander, age 21, a transporter of meth from Los Angeles, California, was sentenced Nov. 4, 2020 to 97 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on possession of meth with intent to distribute. Alexander was charged by Information and entered a plea of guilty on July 2, 2020.

Marcus Alan Jones, age 27, a transporter of meth from Los Angeles, California, was sentenced April 14, 2021 to 120 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute meth. Jones was charged by Information and entered a plea of guilty on Dec. 2, 2020.

This prosecution was part of the Western District of Arkansas’ Operation Inner Circle, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  

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