A Hot Springs man was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on felony gun and drug trafficking charges in a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court at Hot Springs.
George Monroe Walston, 51, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute meth and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and was sentenced by Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey, according to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas.
According to court documents, Walston was identified by law enforcement to be distributing meth in the Hot Springs area and between May and October 2021, when investigators were able to conduct multiple controlled purchases of meth from Walston.
On Nov. 19, 2021, shortly after 6 a.m., a multiagency raid was made on Walston's residence at the time on Jaguar Trail, and Walston and a woman, Barbara Jean Cordero, 37, both listed residents, were found inside and taken into custody.
A search of the residence was conducted, resulting in investigators locating and seizing around 205.3 grams, or almost half a pound, of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of meth, located in various locations throughout the residence; approximately 359.7 grams, or over half a pound, of marijuana; and 19 individual dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide, aka "LSD" or "acid."
They also located $6,330 in cash and 1o firearms, including a loaded Walther P22 .22-caliber pistol; a Ruger .357-caliber revolver that was listed as stolen; a 9-mm pistol; a Sig Sauer P250 .40-caliber handgun; a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a Colt .22-caliber rifle with no serial number; a Marlin .22-caliber rifle; a Remington derringer with no serial number; a Diamond Arms single-shot 12-gauge shotgun; an SKS 7.62X39 mm rifle, and various ammunition for the recovered firearms.
The meth and the LSD recovered were sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration lab for confirmatory testing.
After being read his rights, Walston reportedly admitted he had flushed two more bags of meth down the toilet along with a bag of marijuana while the tactical team was making entry into the house. The bag of marijuana did not flush and was located in the toilet.
Both Walston and Cordero were charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a controlled substance, meth, with purpose to deliver, maintaining a drug premises, theft by receiving of a firearm and distribution of a controlled substance near certain facilities because the residence was within 50 yards of a school bus stop.
Cordero pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance, meth, on April 6, 2022, and was sentenced to six years in prison, with all of it suspended, while the rest of the charges were withdrawn.
The state charges against Walston were withdrawn on March 15, 2022, because he had been indicted on federal charges in connection with the raid and the preceding investigation.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations Little Rock, Hot Springs Police Department, Garland County Sheriff's Department and 18th Judicial District East Drug Task Force investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels prosecuted the case.
The prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation, which "identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach," the release said.