Two fugitives arrested in meth conspiracy

Authorities Allege Their Co-Conspirator Shot At Federal Agents

            LITTLE ROCK—Two Little Rock men were arrested Wednesday on federal drug conspiracy charges. Richard Smith, 48, and Enrique Salazar-Pacheco, 22, were charged by a grand jury in an indictment handed down on December 8, 2021.

            In November 2021, two federal officers were conducting surveillance as part of an ongoing investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization that involved Smith and Salazar-Pacheco. As the agents were attempting to leave the rural area, a male later identified as Jackie Davidson, 50, of Woodson, exited the wood line and fired multiple shots at the law enforcement officers, striking their vehicle several times.

            Jonathan D. Ross, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced the indictment, which charges Smith, Salazar-Pacheco, and three others with various methamphetamine and firearms charges. Smith, Salazar-Pacheco, and Abelardo Gonzalez, 46, of Woodson, are charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture. Smith and Salazar-Pacheco are also individually charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and Gonzalez is charged with being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. Salazar-Pacheco is also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

            Davidson is charged with using a firearm to assault two federal agents; one Task Force Officer from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and one Special Agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Davidson is also charged with using a firearm during a crime of violence as well as attempted murder of federal officers. Jose Alonso Mena Moreno, 43, of Woodson, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as being illegally present in the United States.

            “During this investigation, arrests were made at the local level, but we and our federal partners did not stop there,” said Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez. “Criminals do not follow city limit boundaries, so we identified the source of these narcotics in Southwest Little Rock, where those who were supplying narcotics to citizens of Searcy were taken off the streets.”

            “These arrests show the level of our officers’ commitment to continually work to bring justice to those folks that would do harm in our communities,” said White County Sheriff Phillip Miller. “I am grateful for their service.”

            This investigation is part of Operation Central Sweep. Since July 2020, members of DEA, ATF, and Central Arkansas Drug Task Force, Searcy Police Department and White County Sheriff’s Office have seized a total of 308.04 pounds of methamphetamine including 5.7 pounds fentanyl, 2 1/2 pounds of cocaine, 24,000 counterfeit Oxycodone pills (Blue M-30s laced with fentanyl) and 84 firearms. Little Rock Police Department has assisted in numerous arrests. Additionally, a total of 66 state and federal arrests have been made, including arrests of Gangster Disciples and members of the CJNG Cartel.

An indictment only contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Press Release – Office of the United States Attorney Eastern District of Arkansas



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