WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The U.S. Attorney held a news conference Tuesday to discuss a major law enforcement operation that resulted in dozens of arrests in West Memphis and Crittenden County.
Law enforcement obtained arrest warrants for 50 defendants, and 27 arrests were made Tuesday morning. Eleven defendants were already in state custody, and thirteen defendants remain at large.
Officials detail the operation and arrests during a news conference:
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation began in 2015 under the name, 'Money Don't Sleep.'
The operation was aimed at 'curbing' drug trafficking and gun violence in West Memphis and Crittenden County.
“Drug and gun crime has been overrunning the entire Arkansas Delta for some time, and the epidemic has hit West Memphis and Crittenden County hard," said Patrick C. Harris, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed 25 federal indictments.
The counts include:
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine
- Distribution of methamphetamine
- Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine
- Possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine
- Distribution of crack cocaine and cocaine, use of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime
- Felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition
- Selling firearm to a felon, and theft of mail by a United States Postal Service employee
A combination of more than 300 federal and local enforcement from St. Louis to New Orleans combed several crime ridden neighbors in West Memphis to make arrests.
Matthew Barden of the DEA said those arrested were some of the 'biggest and the baddest' in the West Memphis drug trade. They are gang members and others with violent and criminal pasts.
© 2020 Cox Media Group