California man convicted in massive Natchez drug trafficking conspiracy

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

From staff reports

A California man was convicted on Friday for his involvement in a conspiracy to traffic over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine and marijuana into the Natchez area.

According to federal court documents, from 2016 through 2018, Arthur Wilson, 57, from Moreno Valley, California, conspired with Wesley Bell of Natchez; Jimmie Lee Swearengen, Jr., of Mesquite, Texas; Thomas Jerome Mitchell and Justine Chambers of Victorville, California; and Kevin Singleton, formerly of Natchez, to traffic kilograms of methamphetamine and marijuana into the Natchez area for distribution and sale.  Wilson was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in moving more than $345,000 in drug proceeds from Natchez to his drug suppliers in California.

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Information about the conspiracy was provided in a statement released Monday by U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Wilson will be sentenced on November 9.  He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

This OCDETF case is the result of an extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in Atlanta, GA, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Pearl Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carla J. Clark and Clay B. Baldwin.