Seven Defendants In Custody Facing Drug, Gun Charges
LITTLE ROCK— Seven defendants are in custody after federal and state authorities made multiple arrests in Jonesboro this morning as part of an ongoing investigation. The portion of the investigation that concluded with today’s arrests resulted in the seizure of more than five pounds of methamphetamine and six firearms. The overall investigation, which is continuing, involves the seizure of more than 12 pounds of methamphetamine and 31 guns, to date. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced today’s arrests.
The large-scale drug operation in Northeast Arkansas is, according to one of five related federal indictments, headed by Eiichi Moore, a known member of the Crip gang. Today’s arrests are in conjunction with the announcement of these indictments of eight individuals who were charged by a federal grand jury on January 7, 2020. Moore, 41, and two others—Lakendra Thomas, 27, and Jullian Woods, 33, all of Jonesboro—are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as well as distribution of methamphetamine. An additional co-conspirator has been indicted but has not been arrested and is currently a fugitive.
During this morning’s arrests, police announced their presence at Moore’s residence and immediately heard shots fired from inside the home. Officers confirmed that Moore fired the shots while he and Thomas were in the master bedroom. Moore fired towards the living room, where minor children were sleeping. No one was injured in the shooting.
Other defendants whose charges were announced today, all of whom reside in Jonesboro, include Alva Turner, 42, who is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; Lawrence Cannon, 49, who is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm; Mike Crockett, 31, who is charged with distribution of methamphetamine; and Percy Law, Jr., 39, who is charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and three counts of distribution of methamphetamine. Cannon is currently in state custody on unrelated charges. The other six defendants are being held in federal custody and will be seen Thursday by United States Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney.
The indictments stem from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, or OCDETF, investigation that began in March 2016. While the overall investigation has thus far uncovered more than 12 pounds of methamphetamine, the defendants charged in the indictments announced today are allegedly responsible for five pounds of methamphetamine that law enforcement intercepted. Five pounds of methamphetamine has a street value ranging from $35,000 to $50,000. From these defendants officers also seized six firearms, one of which was a semi-automatic firearm with an extended capacity magazine to hold extra ammunition, as well as cocaine and various drug paraphernalia. Four of the firearms, including an AR-15; numerous additional magazines, some with extended capacity; and over $35,000 in cash, were seized as part of today’s arrests.
“Today’s arrests signify our commitment to stopping drug trafficking throughout Eastern Arkansas,” stated United States Attorney Hiland. “This operation shows that our reach extends to those who traffic narcotics in Jonesboro and anywhere else in the Eastern District of Arkansas. We appreciate the collaboration between the federal and state partners that made this investigation possible.”
“Today’s arrests disrupted a major drug trafficking network in Northeast Arkansas and were the culmination of an extensive OCDETF investigation involving our numerous federal, state, and local partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Upchurch. “Our goal with this OCDETF investigation was to reduce the flow of illegal drugs by identifying and targeting major traffickers within our state. Today’s operation shows what can be accomplished by Arkansas law enforcement when we work together to counter the scourge of drugs and end the violence drug traffickers instill in our communities.”
Today’s operation is the result of a joint investigation between the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives; the Arkansas State Police; the Jonesboro Police Department; the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office; and the 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin O’Leary.
An indictment contains only allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.