FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Bentonville man was sentenced to 100 months in prison Wednesday followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense, a news release announced.
Rafael Melendrez, 37, was sentenced in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
According to court documents, in March 2021, the Bentonville Narcotics Unit began investigating Melendrez for drug trafficking. An anonymous tip indicated that Melendrez was staying at a residence in Bentonville and selling drugs. The investigation revealed that he was a probation absconder with an active warrant out for his arrest.
On April 9th, 2021, while conducting surveillance, detectives observed Melendrez leave the residence in a vehicle. Melendrez was subsequently traffic stopped by an officer and arrested based on the outstanding warrant for absconding.
According to the release, after the arrest, Melendrez’s residence was searched by detectives and Arkansas Community Corrections Officers. The search resulted in detectives locating multiple vacuum-sealed packages, Ziplock baggies, and glass containers filled with marijuana (later totaling approximately 8.14 pounds), a money counting machine, two food processing machines used to vacuum seal the marijuana, two digital scales and 13 firearms. Detectives also located a safe that contained $48,150.00.
U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Bentonville Narcotics Unit and Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case.