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FBI arrests two in conspiracy to traffick drugs in Texarkana

FBI arrests two in conspiracy to traffick drugs in Texarkana

October 12th, 2017 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

Two men accused of conspiring to traffick cocaine, ecstasy and prescription anxiety medication in the Texarkana area recently appeared in federal court on a criminal complaint.

Fredrico Bradley and James Manuel were both arrested Oct. 3 by the FBI in Texarkana, according to a complaint filed the following day in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. The complaint accuses both men of conspiring to traffic cocaine, ecstasy and Xanax.

During a traffic stop at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, agents allegedly found hundreds of Xanax and ecstasy pills in Manuel's silver Dodge pickup. The bags of pills were allegedly found inside a Honey Bun container in a backpack in Manuel's truck. Another bag which allegedly contained two ounces of powder cocaine was also discovered along with $9,000 in cash wrapped in rubber bands.

Also discovered in the truck was a handwritten document which appeared to be related to drug trafficking, according to testimony from an FBI special agent given Tuesday at a detention hearing for Manuel in Texarkana's downtown federal building. Special Agent Ryan Lathrap testified under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Jones that the "ledger" document listed the word "soft" likely in place of powder cocaine with amounts and transactions noted. Similar entries were made for "hard," which Lathrap said is presumably crack cocaine; "pints," which is presumably codeine cough syrup; "sticks," which is presumably scored bars of Xanax; and "green," which is presumably marijuana.

Bradley was arrested a couple of hours after Manuel. Bradley allegedly told investigators he met Manuel at a bar in Miller County, Ark., in March and has been buying drugs from him since. Bradley allegedly claimed that he purchases two to four ounces of cocaine in a single transaction from Manuel and that he has helped to launder the money he pays Manuel for the drugs.

Bradley allegedly told investigators he has made deposits in amounts low enough to escape the attention of banking officials into a Wells Fargo account for Manuel and that he has made numerous wire transfers of money from Western Union and Walmart.

Introduced at Manuel's detention hearing was a wire transfer receipt recovered from an Oct. 3 search of Bradley's home on Pearl Street in Texarkana, Ark., sent from Bradley to Manuel's wife. Also recovered from Bradley's home was more than $26,000 in cash.

Both men appeared Oct. 4 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant for an initial appearance. Bradley's lawyer, Bruce Eddy of the Federal Public Defenders Office, waived the issue of detention on Bradley's behalf. Manuel's lawyer, Craig Henry of Texarkana, asked for a detention hearing, which was held Tuesday.

Henry called Manuel's mother and grandmother to testify about his life in Houston, where he currently lives with them. Both said Manuel is self-employed and operates a "bouncy house" rental business with varying hours.

Henry argued that Manuel's lack of criminal history and strong family ties weigh in favor of his release. Jones argued that Manuel managed to traffic drugs from Houston to Texarkana without his family's knowledge and that his conduct poses a threat to the community.

Bryant agreed to release Manuel on a $5,000 unsecured bond, meaning Manuel will only be held liable for the money if he fails to appear in court. Manuel must wear a GPS monitor and adhere to home confinement when he is not working or attending court.

Neither man's case has yet been presented to a grand jury. However, conspiracy to traffic controlled substances is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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