West Memphis man receives more than 17 years in federal prison in “Operation Money Don’t Sleep” case

West Memphis man receives more than 17 years in federal prison in “Operation Money Don’t Sleep” case
(Source: KAIT-TV)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A West Memphis man will spend nearly two decades in federal prison after pleading guilty to a federal firearms possession charge in connection to a nearly five-year-long federal investigation into drug trafficking in the region.

According to a media release from United States Attorney Cody Hiland, Terry Whittier Jr., 39, of West Memphis was sentenced Thursday in the case.

The case began in 2015 when West Memphis police and the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating drug trafficking in West Memphis.

Officials said they were able to use wiretaps to intercept phone calls where Whittier was coordinating drug transactions.

“Whittier and other co-conspirators received their drug supply through the mail with the assistance of a postal employee, Cleavon Shaw, who has also been convicted and sentenced to 90 months in prison. With assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, agents seized more than six pounds of methamphetamine,” Hiland said.

Whittier was indicted in July 2017 on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute meth. Whittier pleaded guilty in Sept. 2019 to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

In addition to the 17 and a half year prison sentence, Whittier will receive five years of supervised release, officials said.

The U.S. Attorney said Whittier’s involvement in the conspiracy took place while he was on parole for a second-degree homicide conviction after he shot and killed Austin Kirkwood in 2002.

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