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"Operation West End Gambler" Leads to 11 Arrests

BENTON COUNTY-- A major drug trafficking investigation led to the arrests of 11 people this week.
West End Gambler Press Conference
West End Gambler Press Conference
BENTON COUNTY-- A major drug trafficking investigation led to the arrests of 11 people this week.

In a press conference Friday afternoon, Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced the results of “Operation West End Gambler” which began in August of 2012.  The state reports over 20 pounds of methamphetamine and over $60,000 have been recovered in the effort so far.

Operation "West End Gambler", a combined effort the Drug Enforcement Administration, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Springdale Police and Arkansas State Police.

According to a press release, "it began with the arrest of Arturo Vaca-Raya of Springdale, Arkansas, in December of 2012. Vaca-Raya was found to be in possession of over 15 pounds of methamphetamine and a large quantity of United States Currency. On September 5, 2013, Vaca-Raya was sentenced to forty years in prison for possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The investigation continued after Vaca-Raya’s arrest when Ricardo Clemente Ruiz, aka Ricardo Pulido-Clemente, was identified as a distributor of large quantities of methamphetamine in Siloam Springs and Springdale."

Seven people were arrested on a federal complaint October 21st.

Ricardo Pulido-Clemente, age 42, Martha Pulido, age 19, Davna Hoepfner, age 36, Suzanne Hathorn, age 53, Alex Fernandez, age 40, Leonel Padilla, age 26, Michael Stanfill, age 43. These individuals appeared before Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser today for their initial appearance.

For more were arrested on state charges: Leeroy Creekmore age 53, Angel Asucedo, age 19, Erica Murguia, age 22, Gabriel Romero, age 20.


Details to follow.
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