22 busted in major West Memphis operation

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WEST MEMPHIS—A major arrest operation took place this morning in West Memphis when 22 were arrested as part of a federal drug investigation. United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Cody Hiland and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King of the DEA Little Rock Field Office announced today’s arrests.

Operation “Money Don’t Sleep,” run by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, is an ongoing investigation focused on lowering violent crime that stems from the distribution of illegal drugs. The goal of the operation is to identify and dismantle multiple drug trafficking organizations that distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

Today’s arrests conclude the second phase of the investigation that was initiated in 2015 by the DEA Little Rock District Office and the West Memphis Police Department. The first phase of “Money Don’t Sleep” previously resulted in the arrests of 50 defendants in July 2017. With those drug traffickers removed, new distributors emerged to fill the void left in the drug market, leading to this morning’s arrests.

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Law enforcement began early this morning by searching for over 25 suspects, all of whom were indicted for federal drug trafficking crimes. Thirty-two defendants were indicted in the case, and five of those were already in custody when this morning’s roundup began. In addition to the 22 arrests, authorities seized one firearm this morning. Over a two-year period, investigators seized 1.2 kilograms of actual methamphetamine, 12 firearms, and over $8000 cash. In addition, a search warrant executed prior to today’s arrests resulted in law enforcement seizure of half a pound of methamphetamine, $7500 cash, and a firearm.

“This operation is a perfect example of the continued pressure we will apply to drug distributors,” stated Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “We arrested and prosecuted 50 targets in the first phase of this operation, andtoday we came back for more. Criminals should not mistake these arrests for a completed operation, because law enforcement will come back as many times as necessary to uphold law and order in West Memphis and the surrounding communities.”

“Drug trafficking is one of the primary drivers of violent crime across the United States, and the city of West Memphis is no exception,” stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King. “This operation focused on those drug dealers who preyed upon the good people in West Memphis and the surrounding counties by selling drugs and committing acts of violence. Drug dealing and violent crime often walk hand in hand, spreading fear and destruction wherever they go, and we in law enforcement have an obligation to put a stop to those who destroy our communities.” King went on to say, “DEA is committed to its partnerships with the other dedicated federal, state and local law enforcement officers who work in and around this region of Arkansas in our ongoing efforts to make it a safer and better place for our families and children.”

The DEA Little Rock District Office and West Memphis Police Department were assisted by several participating agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; United States Federal Probation; Arkansas State Police; Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office; Arkansas Department of Community Corrections; and the Counter Drug Program of the Arkansas National Guard.

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Updated: Here is the list of arrests:

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