For Immediate Release
California Man Pleads Guilty for Selling Methamphetamine in Northeastern Oklahoma
A man who was arrested after a Mannford police officer discovered methamphetamine, fentanyl, and firearms in his vehicle pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Eric Steven Bentley, 34, of Bakersfield, California, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and to possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Bentley faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.
In his plea agreement, Bentley stated that on Oct. 31, 2020, he and two codefendants, Derrick Deeds and Nicole Dileva, possessed more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute the drug. He said the trio traveled from Bakersfield, California, to the Northern District of Oklahoma to sell the methamphetamine and had already distributed quantities of the methamphetamine in exchange for cash and firearms.
He further stated that the three defendants possessed a Hermann Weihrauch (Arminius) .38 Special caliber revolver, a Jimenez Arms, Inc. 9 mm Luger caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a 9 mm privately made firearm. Bentley, Deeds, and Dileva received the guns as payment for methamphetamine and used the firearms for protection while selling the drug.
The three were charged after an October 2020 traffic stop conducted by the Mannford Police Department. During a probable cause search of the vehicle, officers discovered three pounds of methamphetamine, pills later determined to be fentanyl, and the three firearms.
Deeds, 36, and Dileva, 34, both of Bakersfield, also pleaded guilty in July. The three defendants will be sentenced in November.
The Mannford Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica L. Wright and Justin G. Bish are prosecuting the case.