Waldo Man Sentenced to 14 Years for Distributing Methamphetamine
EL DORADO, AR—Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Curtis Cole, 46, of Waldo, was sentenced today for distributing methamphetamine as part of Operation Crystal Clear, an investigation into large-scale drug trafficking of methamphetamine throughout Columbia County, Arkansas, and surrounding areas. Cole was sentenced 14 years’ imprisonment with four years of supervised release. The sentencing took place before the Honorable Susan O. Hickey in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “With today’s sentence, one more defendant in this large-scale drug trafficking operation has now been brought to justice. The criminal activity involved in this case victimized the people of Waldo, Magnolia, and surrounding communities. Our office remains committed to prosecuting these organizations and the crimes that come with them so that the residents of South Arkansas and the Western District of Arkansas are safe from this activity.”
Cole was originally charged in a 15-count indictment filed on March 6, 2013. Beginning in December 2011, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies began an investigation into a drug-trafficking organization involved in distributing pound quantities of methamphetamine in Waldo and Magnolia, Arkansas, and surrounding areas. The investigation known as Operation Crystal Clear included controlled purchases of methamphetamine, surveillance and monitoring, and other investigative techniques. During the course of the investigation, over three pounds of methamphetamine, five firearms, and approximately $150,000 in cash were seized.
Over the course of the investigation, agents intercepted numerous wire and electronic communications among co-conspirators discussing the distribution of methamphetamine and the collection of drug debts. On November 16, 2012, Cole arranged the sale of two ounces of methamphetamine to a confidential informant during a recorded phone call. Cole met the confidential informant at a predetermined location in Columbia County, Arkansas, and exchanged a bag of methamphetamine for $2,800. Cole pleaded guilty to one count of distributing over 50 grams of methamphetamine on January 27, 2014.
Several other defendants in this case are awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Little Rock FBI Division and El Dorado RA Safe Streets Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Quinn prosecuted the case for the United States.