Northwest Arkansas man sentenced to 168 months in federal prison for drug trafficking and money laundering

 

Date: March 13, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Fayetteville, Arkansas – Bryant Keethe Smith Ford of Fayetteville, Arkansas was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison followed by 4 years of supervised release, and to pay a $20,000.00 fine on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute More than 100 Kilograms of Marijuana and sentenced to 120 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release on one count of Money Laundering. These sentences were ordered to run concurrently.  The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

According to court records, agents with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration, through their investigations, determined that from on or about January 1, 2017, and continuing to July 18, 2019, the Bryant Ford Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) operated in the Western District of Arkansas and was responsible for trafficking large quantities of marijuana into the Fayetteville, Arkansas area from other states. Once the marijuana was brought to Fayetteville by Ford, it was then distributed to others by Ford or at his direction.  Further, during the investigation, it was determined that Ford used proceeds from his unlawful marijuana sales to pay for luxury cars in United States Currency (cash) and that he then titled the luxury vehicles in another individual’s name. On July 18, 2019, the day of Ford’s arrest, several federal search warrants were executed.  As a result, over $260,000.00 in United States Currency, two loaded firearms, and three luxury vehicles were seized. 

During the course of the investigation, over 300 pounds of marijuana were seized by law enforcement.

Ford was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2019, and entered a guilty plea in November of 2019.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by many local law enforcement partners throughout the country during the course of this investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Harris prosecuted the case for the Western District of Arkansas.