Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and David Downing, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Little Rock District Office today announced the filing of a federal Complaint and subsequent arrest of two Little Rock men charged with drug crimes. The Complaint and arrest warrants were sought following an early-morning shooting at the home of defendant David Eduardo Verduzco that left a DEA Task Force Officer wounded.
Verduzco, age 22, of Little Rock, was arrested on Thursday morning in Temple, Texas. Gerarto Iriarte, aka “Ed,” age 43, of Little Rock, was arrested at his residence on Laver Circle at approximately 2 a.m. Thursday morning as he and a female holding an infant were getting into a vehicle, approximately 90 minutes following the shooting.
Verduzco and Iriarte are charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine.
On Thursday, Verduzco was scheduled to appear before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Texas, prior to being transported to the Eastern District of Arkansas. Also on Thursday, Iriarte appeared before United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray in Little Rock and remains in custody pending the return of a federal Indictment.
According to the Complaint, shortly after midnight on July 2, 2015, two law enforcement agents (Agent 1 and Agent 2), drove to Verduzco’s residence at 57 Jan Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of an investigation. Agent 1 (a DEA Task Force officer), who was driving a Chrysler 300, dropped off Agent 2 (a DEA Special Agent) at 57 Jan Drive. Agent 1 then drove further down the street. Later, as Agent 1 was driving past 57 Jan Drive on the way to pick up Agent 2, a shot was fired into Agent 1’s Chrysler 300. Agent 2 heard the gunshot. The gunshot shattered the car’s driver’s side window.
The bullet or glass punctured Agent 1’s shoulder, and the glass cut Agent 1’s face and neck. Agent 1 was treated at Saline Memorial Hospital and released.
Law enforcement agents who responded to the shooting at 57 Jan Drive observed a semiautomatic pistol in plain view on the ground underneath Verduczo’s car. At approximately 7 a.m., law enforcement located and stopped Verduczo traveling on I-35 in Temple, Texas, approximately 450 miles from Little Rock and heading in the direction of Mexico. Another Hispanic male was in the car with Verduczo.
The drug charges stem from earlier conduct. According to the Complaint, on June 3, 2015, DEA agents conducting surveillance on a suspected methamphetamine dealer, Individual A, observed Verduzco meet with Individual A at the K-Mart on Rodney Parham and Shackleford Road. After this meeting law enforcement agents followed and stopped Individual A, who gave consent to search the vehicle. After agents located approximately 65 grams of suspected methamphetamine, Individual A admitted meeting with Verduzco at K-Mart to obtain the methamphetamine. Individual A stated that he/she normally purchases methamphetamine from Iriarte, but on this occasion Verduzco supplied the methamphetamine. Individual A has also seen Verduzco supply Iriarte with methamphetamine in the past.
One day prior to Thursday’s shooting, on July 1, 2015, Individual A, under law enforcement supervision, placed a recorded call to Iriarte for the purpose of setting up a controlled purchase of methamphetamine. Individual A asked to purchase two ounces for $1600, and Iriarte agreed to supply the methamphetamine. Individual A and Iriarte later met at the Academy Sports on Markham Street in Little Rock, where Iriarte provided two ounces of methamphetamine. Iriarte later told DEA agents that he purchased those two ounces of methamphetamine from Verduzco.
The charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine carries a statutory penalty of not less than five years’ imprisonment, not more than 40 years’ imprisonment, not more than a $5,000,000 fine, and not less than four years of supervised release. This case is being investigated by the DEA and the Little Rock Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Peters.
The criminal complaint contains only allegations. A federal Grand Jury will decide whether to indict on these or any additional charges. Verduzco and Iriarte are presumed innocent until proven guilty.