23 charged with drug trafficking in Fort Smith

FORT SMITH (KATV) - Twenty-three people have been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking charges.

Charges include distribution, conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetaime as well as unlawful re-entry by an illegal alien based on an investigation into the Gamboa drug trafficking organization between November and May. Authorities claim their operation spanned at least four states - Arkansas, Texas, Missouri and California.

AssistantSpecial Agent in Charge William J. Bryant stated, "Methamphetamine continues to be themajor drug threat in Arkansas. All the federal, state and local agenciesare committed as one to disrupt and dismantle these major multi-statedrug-trafficking organizations distributing multi-pound quantities ofmethamphetamine ice into Arkansas."

"Drug cases donot stop at city limits, state borders, or country borders, so when localpolice departments work with federal agencies our efforts are more intensifiedand directed," stated Van Buren Police Chief Kenneth Bell.

Gerardo Gamboa, also known as "Tio," reportedly brought in meth to the River Valley by the pound then distributed it to lower-level drug dealers or sold it off directly to meth users.

The investigation was part of a larger two-year operation called "Operation: Shaw-Crank Redemption," which has so far led to 49 total arrests, seizure of 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 10 firearms and $5,000 in cash.