Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Antoine C. Cook, aka “Twan”, age 42, of Junction City, Arkansas, was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine; James A. Barron, aka “Aunt C”, age 40, of Hot Springs, was sentenced to 108 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for Distribution of Cocaine Base; and Brodney Dixon, age 28, of Texarkana, Texas, was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for Distribution of Methamphetamine. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey handed down the sentences in United States District Court in Texarkana.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “The trafficking of illegal drugs represents a tremendous problem in our communities by bringing crime and violence onto our streets and exposing our children to serious risks. These sentences pronounced today show that our office, joined by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively identifying, investigating, and prosecuting illegal drug trafficking in communities across the Western District of Arkansas. ”
“The law enforcement organizations in our state and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have successfully collaborated in order to put these three defendants in jail for a very long time as a result of their desire to supply methamphetamine and crack to citizens in Western Arkansas,” stated Assistant Special Agent in Charge James Hendricks, “We are here, we are working together, and we are committed to investigating these illegal operations.”
“Once again, thanks to the efforts of the state, federal and local law enforcement agencies in investigating and bringing to justice upper level drug offenders,” said David Butler, Prosecuting Attorney for the 13th Judicial District. “These cases demonstrate the benefits associated with the multi-agency task force approach in apprehending and prosecuting drug dealers.”
Further information concerning each defendant is below:
Antoine Cook: Agents with the FBI and FBI Task Force initiated an estimated one year investigation targeting gang members who were involved in the trafficking of narcotics and firearms in El Dorado, Arkansas and surrounding areas. During the investigation, agents identified the defendant, Antoine Cook, as a major distributor of methamphetamine in Union County, Arkansas and elsewhere in the Western District of Arkansas. From June 17, 2013 until August 16, 2013, pursuant to orders of United States District Judge Susan O. Hickey of the Western District of Arkansas, agents intercepted numerous electronic and wire communications in which Cook, using coded language, discussed the distribution of methamphetamine and collection of drug debts. During the investigation, agents were able to make a controlled purchase of approximately four ounces of methamphetamine from Cook for $4,400. A Federal Grand Jury issued the indictment for Cook on September 18, 2013, and in February, 2014, Cook pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that he was responsible for distributing between 1.5 kilograms and 5 kilograms of methamphetamine. As a five time convicted felon with at least two prior felony convictions of a controlled substance offense, Cook is a career offender.
James Barron: According to court records, in October, 2012, during the course of an ongoing investigation, law enforcement arranged for a controlled purchase of a quarter ounce of crack cocaine from Barron. With officers maintaining surveillance, Barron arrived at a local Hot Springs business to conduct the drug transaction. Officers were then able to observe Barron exchange crack cocaine for U.S. currency. The suspected crack cocaine was submitted to the Arkansas State Crime lab where it was confirmed to contain cocaine base. During the course of the investigation, several other purchases of crack cocaine were arranged and made with the defendant before and after October, 2012. Barron pleaded guilty to the charge on August 15, 2014.
Brodney Dixon: According to court records, law enforcement agents utilized a confidential informant to arrange for a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Dixon on May 2, 2012. While under officer surveillance, the informant met with Dixon in Hempstead County, Arkansas, where Dixon provided a baggie containing a substance he represented to be methamphetamine in exchange for U.S. currency. The suspected methamphetamine was submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where it was confirmed to contain methamphetamine. A Federal Grand Jury issued an indictment for Dixon on January 29, 2014, and he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of methamphetamine on August 21, 2014.
These cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Hot Springs Police Department, the South Central Drug Task Force, and the Arkansas State Police. The investigation into Cook’s Drug Trafficking Organization was a joint operation between the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the El Dorado Police Department, the FBI, the FBI Task Force, the Camden Police Department, the Magnolia Police Department, the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office, the Arkansas State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Wulff, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenny Elser, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross prosecuted the cases for the United States.