A letter carrier from West Memphis was sentenced Wednesday to serve seven and a half years in federal prison following Operation “Money Don’t Sleep.”

Hayward Cleavon Shaw, 44, was indicted in July 2017 alongside 49 others as a methamphetamine conspiracy investigation unfolded.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force oversees Operation “Money Don’t Sleep,” which is an ongoing investigation focused “on lowering violent crime that stems from the distribution of illegal drugs,” Allison W. Bragg, a spokesman for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said. “The goal of the operation is to identify and dismantle multiple drug trafficking organizations that distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.”

The Set Memphis Police Department along with officials from the DEA’s Little Rock field office launched the investigation in 2015.

Shaw was a postal employee who would assist drug distributors divert and re-locate packages from May 2016 through February 2017, according to his indictment.

One of the packages the West Memphis man diverted had more 2.5 kilograms in it.

“In particular, on January 27, 2017, a package was on its way to West Memphis from Moreno Valley, California. Law enforcement was tracking this package as part of their investigation,” Bragg said in a news release. “Once agents intercepted the package, DEA deployed a canine, who alerted to the presence of narcotics in the package.”

Agents working the case obtained a search warrant and ultimately found “over 2,500 grams of methamphetamine in the package,” Bragg said.

While the first phase of “Money Don’t Sleep” wielded 50 arrest, a second round of arrests was conducted earlier this year.

After the drug traffickers previously arrested were taken off the streets, “new distributors emerged to fill the void left in the drug market,” Bragg said.

In June, authorities arrested 22 others as part of Operation “Money Don’t Sleep.”

Shaw was initially charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and theft of mail matter by postal employee but ultimately pleaded guilty on April 11 to the conspiracy charge in a plea agreement.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. sentenced Shaw to a 90-month (seven and a half years) federal prison sentence, with two years of supervised release following his sentence. Shaw must also pay a $100 specialty penalty assessment.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.