A Mammoth Spring man will serve a lengthy federal sentence after he was convicted Oct. 20 in U.S. District Court on drug and firearms charges.
U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. sentenced Mathew Arlen Hayes, 35, to 19 1/2 years in federal prison.
"This was one of the largest drug operations we've busted in the 16th Judicial District," said Drug Task Force Chief Scott Russell.
Hayes's conviction stems from a drug bust at his Mammoth Spring workshop in 2002.
Officers from the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police, Central Drug Task Force in Missouri and the Fulton County Sheriff's Department found a large clandestine laboratory, quantities of methamphetamine, firearms and other drug paraphernalia inside the shop.
Russell said Hayes was one of the largest methamphetamine dealers in north Arkansas prior to the bust.
In addition to his prison sentence Hayes will serve four years of supervised release and pay restitution for the methamphetamine lab cleanup.
Russell said agents conducted surveillance Hayes's shop several months before the bust.
Hayes was taken into custody by the Bureau of Prisons after his verdict was rendered by Howard.
"This conviction was the result of hard work by all area law enforcement agencies. We will continue to fight the meth problem until it is gone in the 16th Judicial District," said Russell.
Hayes was recently sentenced to three years in prison in Sharp County on a felony methamphetamine manufacturing charge.
Russell said further federal convictions are expected in connection with Hayes's case.
In other Drug Task Force action, officers made the eighth arrest Oct. 19 in a wave of drug arrests in connection with a multi-million dollar methamphetamine ring.
Roy Madison Hurst, 37, of Byron was arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Hurst has previous drug convictions in Fulton County.
Bond for Hurst has been set at $100,000. Hurst, who was arrested in Missouri, waved extradition and is currently being held in the Fulton County jail. His next court date is slated for November.
Russell said Hurst was a player in the largest drug ring in northern Arkansas that began to crumble after a wave of arrests in Fulton County and Missouri last month.