From staff reports

A 33-year-old Carthage man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years and a month in prison without parole for his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine in Jasper County.

Todd P. Graves, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said Tuesday's sentencing of Antonio C. Macias was part of Operation Cocaine Cowboys, in which 36 people faced federal charges of illegal drug trafficking and firearms sales in Southwest Missouri.

U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright sentenced Macias in Springfield.

A federal jury convicted Macias on May 13 on 11 charges related to a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, Graves said.

Martin Macias, 35, of Carthage also was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but he failed to appear in court and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Martin Macias pleaded guilty May 13 to conspiring with others to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in Jasper County from as early as November 1999 to Sept. 6, 2001. By pleading guilty, Martin Macias also agreed to the forfeiture of $31,140 in proceeds obtained from that criminal violation.

Nine defendants, including Antonio Macias, have been sentenced, and two have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Graves said the federal charges were filed in January and February of 2002 as a result of a 27-month investigation by multiple agencies into illegal drug trafficking and firearms sales.

Operation Cocaine Cowboys focused on individuals who allegedly were responsible for the delivery and distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs from sources in California, Texas and Guatemala.

Graves said 36 federal defendants allegedly distributed illegal narcotics, primarily in Jasper County, and also in Christian, Greene, Lawrence and Webster counties and elsewhere.

In addition to the federal defendants, 26 other people face a variety of state charges in related cases, primarily in Jasper County.

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