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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Fort Smith meth trafficker looking at parole eligible date in mid-2035 on back side of plea deal

A Fort Smith man who was arrested twice in 2020 on a number9 of drug related charges took a hard hit in Sebastian County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning when he drew a 20-year sentence with 30-years suspended on a myriad of felony counts.

Paul Robert Buikema, 37, was charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance, two counts of Possession of Paraphernalia as swell as Failure to Appear and took the plea deal as a habitual offender. A charge of Maintaining a Premise was dropped as part of the deal and the 20year sentence represents the total time of all charges combined to run concurrently.

The habitual offender tag is fitting in that Buikema has been arrested, jailed, sent to prison and faced property seizures dating all the way back to 2001 when he was arrested at age 17 and tried as an adult for drug paraphernalia possession and hit with a 24-month sentence.

In between that sentencing and Wednesday's verdict he has either been incarcerated or looking for a reason to go back to prison, as he has had subsequent arrests for Breaking and Entering, Manufacturing of Counterfeit Substances, Battery and Drug Paraphernalia counts in addition to a DWI in which Leaving the Scene an Accident charges were later dropped.

According to Arkansas Sentencing Commission guidelines. Buikema's first parole eligible date, not considering credit for time served and good time behavior, should be sometime in mid-2035.

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