Operation Lake Ice investigation results in 21 meth-related arrests

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Closes out year-long meth dealer investigation

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. – Sheriff Chris Brown of Cleburne County announced a major set of drug arrests Thursday morning, January 11. It was part of Operation Lake Ice.

In January of 2017, Brown authorized the Criminal Investigations Division to conduct a long-term investigation – called “Operation Lake Ice” – specifically targeting methamphetamine dealers in Cleburne County, his release said. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the 16th Judicial Drug Task Force and Heber Springs Police Department, began conducting their investigation. While some parts of this investigation remain ongoing, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies conducted a large-scale round-up on January 9, 2018 as a result of the initial phase of this operation. Members of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, 16th Judicial Drug Task Force, Heber Springs Police Department, Quitman Police Department, Greers Ferry Police Department, Central Arkansas Drug Task Force, Probation/Parole, and the Independence County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve arrest warrants on 19 individuals that were issued as a result of Operation Lake Ice.

Out of the 19 issued warrants, 15 suspects were arrested for warrants as a direct result of Operation Lake Ice. Those individuals are:
-Dennis Allender, 44, of Concord – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises
-Latasha Ashabranner, 26, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Use of a Communication Device
-Michael Brawley, 51, of the West Pangburn Area – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Maintaining a Drug Premises
-John Brown, 51, of Drasco – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams
-Jessica Cook, 37, of Wilburn (Currently incarcerated in ADC) – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Use of a Communication Device, Maintaining a Drug Premises
-Johnathan Haward,35, of Heber Springs (Currently incarcerated in ADC) – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Habitual Offender
-William Heffington, 45, of the West Pangburn Area – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Use of a Communication Device
-Russell Holliday, 46, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Parole Hold
-Dustin Khoury, 36, of Drasco – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Habitual Offender
-Daniel Mahoney, 32, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Failure to Appear
-John Sparks, 61, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Habitual Offender
-Andrew Uphoff, 53, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises
-James Walton, 30, of the West Pangburn Area – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Use of a Communication Device, Parole Hold
-Amber Wheat, 33, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 2 grams, Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises
-Kimberly Wright, 45, of the Cove Creek Area – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Possession of Controlled Substance (methamphetamine)

The suspects that were not located during this morning’s round up have been placed on the “Most Wanted” section of the Sheriff’s Office website, and anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (501)362-8143. Those individuals are:
-Deana Mathias, 48, of Wilburn – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine more than 10 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Use of a Communication Device
-Coby Howell, 39, of the West Pangburn Area – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Use of a Communication Device
-Bobby Defoor, 36, of Quitman – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams, Maintaining a Drug Premises, Use of a Communication Device
-Misty Barker, 36, of Heber Springs – Delivery of Meth or Cocaine less than 2 grams

There were also a number of individuals that law enforcement made contact with during the round up. Several were brought to jail on warrants or probable cause charges, and several more were issued citations and released. Those individuals brought to jail are:
-Karen Adams, 47, of Pangburn – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
-Joshua Balentine, 37, of Quitman – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Methamphetamine
-John Davis, 46, of Heber Springs – Possession of Marijuana less than 4 ounces
-Connie Frazier, 44, of Heber Springs – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Obstruction of Governmental Operations, Resisting Arrest
-Kenneth Kendrick, 59, of Heber Springs – Failure to Appear
-Amanda Kiser, 40, of Heber Springs – Out of Town Warrant Assist
-Anthony Riddle, 27, of Heber Springs – Failure to Appear, Parole Hold
-Jacqueline Rose, 49, of Heber Springs – Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, and each of these other agencies are committed to fighting the meth problem in Cleburne County, and in their respective cities and jurisdictions. More arrests are expected as this operation continues. During the year of 2017, the Sheriff’s Office seized approximately $960,000 worth of methamphetamine, and approximately $208,000 worth of marijuana. We also recovered approximately $428,000 worth of stolen property.

Let this operation send a message to the meth dealers in Cleburne County: Stop dealing meth and poisoning our community, leave Cleburne County, or be prepared to go to jail. We are looking for you, and we will be relentless in pursuing you and bringing you to justice. -Sheriff Chris Brown

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