FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Northwest Arkansas man convicted for operating a meth lab has had his request for a compassionate release denied.
Dennis Cordes, 75, of Fayetteville, was arrested in February 1996 on charges of knowingly attempting to manufacture methamphetamine and knowingly attempting to manufacture methcathinone.
His release date is tentatively scheduled for April 24, 2026.
The affidavit for Cordes’ arrest, originally filed on Jan. 9, 1996, says that a federal search warrant was executed on a travel trailer at Dunlap’s Fish Camp and RV Park near the Illinois River at the border of Washington County and Benton County border.
The officers discovered a laboratory including chemicals, lab equipment, formulas and documentation indicating ownership of the trailer.
Numerous documents were located, including an envelope addressed to Dennis Cordes containing formulas for the manufacture of methamphetamine.
According to the affidavit, analysis of chemicals discovered at the lab yielded a positive test result for methcathinone, a Schedule I controlled substance.
The filing says that Cordes, along with a man identified as Rory Gregory, manufactured at least three batches of methamphetamine or methcathinone in the trailer.
Cordes was sentenced to 31 years in prison and has since requested an early release or sentence reduction multiple times.
He was sentenced to an additional 51 months a year later after briefly escaping from the Washington County jail.
In a previous opinion from the court denying Cordes’ motion for sentence reduction in May 2020, the court acknowledged that Cordes was experiencing medical issues.
“Despite the fact that Mr. Cordes’ medical conditions were serious, the court concluded that early release was not warranted,” court documents said.
Now, the court says that nothing has changed to warrant an early release.
“Nothing has changed materially since the court denied Mr. Cordes’ first motion for reduction of sentence and early release. Mr. Cordes is now two years older, has served two more years on his sentence, and is wheelchair bound — whereas previously he walked with a cane and had restrictions on standing and lifting,” court documents said.
In a response to the motion, Judge Timothy Brooks supported keeping with the original sentence.
“The court continues to believe that his offense conduct and criminal history are very serious and that his sentence of 372 months is just and fair under the totality of the circumstances,” Brooks said.