FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On June 21, a Fayetteville man was sentenced to 300 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.

The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville. According to court documents, in March 2021, the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force (DTF) began investigating a drug trafficking organization operating within the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division.

Through source reporting, investigators learned that Michael Scott Southerland, 33, was the leader of the organization and was supplying narcotics to other members of the organization for distribution. As the investigation continued, the DTF was able to make several purchases of methamphetamine from members of the organization.

On April 1, 2021, detectives with the DTF executed a search warrant at the residence of a co-conspirator. During the execution of the warrant, detectives located over seven pounds of methamphetamine stored in safes for future distribution, as well as numerous firearms. On May 18, 2021, detectives executed a search warrant at Southerland’s residence, as well as the residence of one of his co-conspirators.

The residences, which were adjacent to each other, were located near a school.  During execution of the warrants, detectives located approximately 2.8 pounds of methamphetamine, numerous firearms, $10,366 in U.S. currency and a drug ledger.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force investigated the case, and assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case.