Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Christian Archer and Brandon L. Waller were sentenced today to a combined total of over 25 years in federal prison for unrelated drug trafficking charges. Archer, age 30, of Hope, Arkansas, was sentenced to 188 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of the Use and Carrying of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime; Waller, age 27, of Wake Village, Texas, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute More than 280 grams of Cocaine Base, commonly known as “Crack Cocaine”. The Honorable Harry F. Barnes presided over Archer’s sentencing hearing, while the Honorable Susan O. Hickey presided over Waller’s, both in the United States District Court in Texarkana.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “The fact that both of these defendants have previous felony convictions, and that one of them is a “career offender”, shows a blatant disrespect for the law. These two cases exemplify the threat of violence that drug trafficking poses in our communities; one defendant fired shots into a home, while the other led an officer on a high speed chase, each situation placing innocent lives at risk. Our office remains dedicated to working with our law enforcement partners to identify and aggressively prosecute those who commit these crimes.”
Christian Archer: According to court records, investigators with the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department were contacted by witnesses on September 26, 2013, regarding a shooting that had taken place on that date. The witnesses stated that prior to the shooting they had purchased methamphetamine from Christian Archer. After a dispute over the price of methamphetamine, Archer and two other co-conspirators threatened the witnesses with a firearm, and fired several rounds at them, resulting in multiple bullets striking the witnesses’ residence. On that same date, based on evidence recovered at the scene and statements of witnesses, investigators obtained a court-ordered search warrant for Archer’s residence in Hope, Arkansas. During the execution of the search warrant at Archer’s home, investigators located a set of digital scales on the kitchen counter, two bags of methamphetamine, and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Archer was arrested on March 6, 2014, and pleaded guilty to the charge on July 25, 2014. At sentencing, it was determined that Archer is a Career Offender.
Brandon Waller: According to court records, Troopers with the Arkansas State Police were conducting a sobriety check point in Hempstead County, Arkansas, on September 26, 2013. While operating the check point, an Arkansas State Trooper observed a vehicle heading east-bound on the highway that was traveling partially in the ditch. Based on his observation of traffic violations, the Trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle made a U-Turn in the highway and fled west-bound. The Trooper initiated pursuit of the vehicle, activating his emergency lights and sirens, but the vehicle continued to flee at speeds of up to 99 miles per hour. During the chase, the pursuing Trooper observed a white plastic bag thrown from the passenger window of the vehicle. The location of the bag was radioed in, and the bag, which contained a large quantity of crack cocaine, was recovered near the highway. Officers were ultimately able to stop the vehicle, identify the driver as Brandon Waller, and take Waller into custody. Subsequent to his arrest and after being advised of his Miranda rights, Waller provided a statement to investigators in which he admitted to possessing the crack cocaine recovered from the bag, and throwing it from the vehicle during the pursuit. Waller further stated that he was taking the crack cocaine to Magnolia, Arkansas. Waller was arrested on September 26, 2013, and pleaded guilty to the charge on December 1, 2014.
These cases were investigated by the FBI, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Quinn and Jonathan Ross prosecuted the cases for the United States.