FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) – A two-year investigation by the FBI resulted in the conviction and sentencing of a local drug kingpin.
Derrick Nicholson, 50, of Fayetteville was sentenced to 250 months in federal prison followed by a five year supervised release on one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distribution of 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Duane Kees and Little Rock FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch made the announcement Friday.
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force began the investigation in late 2016, conducting seven separate controlled substance purchases of methamphetamine and heroin from Nicholson and his associates.
Nicholson was arrested on firearms complaints in July 2017, but continued a pivotal role in the organization’s operations from behind bars. Through his wife, 42-year-old LaQueecha Nicholson, Nicholson coordinated shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and marijuana from California, Texas and Mississippi. The investigation itself spanned Northwest Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and California and seized narcotics as well as eleven different firearms, two of which were discovered to be stolen.
In January 2018, Nicholson and his associates were charged in a 15-count indictment by the grand jury sitting in the Western District of Arkansas.
“This sentence is a direct result of two years of hard work and sacrifice put forth by the Northwest Arkansas Safe Street Task Force and local law enforcement,” stated Kees. “This operation is a prime example of the commitment Northwest Arkansas law enforcement has towards ensuring the safety of our community.”
Sentences for Nicholson’s associates, which were made at the the United States District Court in Fayetteville on Tuesday, ranged from 6 years to 8 years in federal prison. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing.
“I would like to sincerely thank all of our partners with the Northwest Arkansas Safe Streets Task Force, the US Attorney’s Office, and all of the hard working men and women within FBI-Little Rock who participated in the successful investigation and prosecution of this case,” stated Upchurch. “We hope that Derrick Nicholson’s 20 year jail sentence will serve as a warning to others that the people of the State of Arkansas will not tolerate the illegal distribution of narcotics within our state.”
Nicholson was also fined $10,000.
Mugshots from left to right: Derrick Nicholson, 50, of Fayetteville; Johnny Nicholson, 43, of Springdale; LaQueecha Nicholson, 42, of Fayetteville; Jeffrey Hollingsworth, 50, of Fayetteville; Rubin Morrow, 49, of Inglewood, California; Derrick Hill, 42, of Fayetteville.