WEST MEMPHIS—A major arrest operation took place this morning in West Memphis when 22 people were arrested as part of an ongoing federal drug investigation. The 22 arrested suspects from the West Memphis area are part of a 32-defendant indictment that was unsealed today.
Operation “Money Don’t Sleep” 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 third 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 22 arrests in the second phase in June 2019.
Law enforcement began early this morning by searching for 28 suspects, all of whom were indicted for federal gun and drug trafficking crimes. Thirty-two defendants were indicted in the case, and 4 of those were already in custody when this morning’s roundup began. In addition to the 22 arrests, during the operation authorities seized 14 firearms and over $500,000 cash that is believed to be drug proceeds. Prior to today’s arrests, investigators seized approximately 1.2 kilograms of 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.
“We appreciate the work of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in conducting today’s arrest operation,” said United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross. “Protecting the citizens of our local communities is our top priority, and we want the people of West Memphis to know that we will continue our efforts to make their neighborhoods safer.”
Six fugitives remain after this morning’s arrests. Law enforcement are still searching for Antonio Calloway, Tristan Harris, Early Bird Johnson, Reoscua Rogers, Robert Brown, and Jeremy McCleary. Most of the defendants who were arrested this morning will appear this afternoon for arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray.
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; United States Federal Probation; 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force; Arkansas State Police; Arkansas Highway Police; Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office; Arkansas Department of Community Corrections; and the Counter Drug Program of the Arkansas National Guard. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristin Bryant and Special Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Eldridge.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
An indictment only contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.