Three federal operations conducted in Pine Bluff and Little Rock have resulted in numerous arrests related to drug and firearm offenses. These investigations, which targeted rival gangs and drug trafficking networks in central Arkansas, have led to the indictment of 80 individuals. The efforts of law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, and local police departments have revealed the extent of criminal activity and the connection between drug trafficking and violence in the region. The operations have not only resulted in arrests but also the seizure of firearms and drugs. The investigation sheds light on the ongoing efforts to combat organized crime and protect communities from the detrimental effects of drug and firearm trafficking.
Investigations and Arrests
Three federal operations in Pine Bluff and Little Rock have resulted in a major crackdown on drug and firearm trafficking. These operations, carried out by the FBI and DEA, have led to the arrest of 45 individuals involved in these illegal activities. The indictments, which were unsealed today, highlight the ongoing efforts to combat the flow of drugs and weapons between these two cities.
The FBI conducted two separate operations targeting rival gangs operating in Pine Bluff and Little Rock. The first operation focused on the EBK gang, resulting in the indictment of 35 individuals. The second operation targeted the Loady Murder Mobb gang, leading to the indictment of 26 individuals. These investigations were aimed at addressing the violence and drug trafficking activities conducted by these gangs in the central Arkansas region.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched an operation to target methamphetamine and fentanyl dealers operating in central Arkansas. Through this investigation, it was discovered that the drugs were being mailed from California to Arkansas. These shipments, which included kilogram-quantities of methamphetamine and thousands of pressed fentanyl pills, were then distributed to individuals in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and even Houston, Texas. In total, 18 individuals have been indicted as a result of this operation.
Role of Detective Kevin Collins
Detective Kevin Collins of the Pine Bluff Police Department played a crucial role in assisting the FBI with intelligence related to criminal activity conducted by these rival gangs. He was also involved in surveillance, interviews, and arrests of individuals responsible for criminal activity in Pine Bluff. Unfortunately, Detective Collins was killed in the line of duty while serving an arrest warrant on an associate of the EBK gang.
Wiretap and Real-Time Information
To gather real-time information and intervene in potential acts of violence, the FBI’s GETROCK Task Force obtained a wiretap. This wiretap, along with additional wiretaps, provided valuable insights into the activities of these criminal organizations. The information obtained through these wiretaps allowed law enforcement to take proactive measures and prevent further violence.
Funding Through Marijuana Sales
One significant discovery made during these investigations was the connection between gang violence and the sale of marijuana. It was revealed that these gangs were funding their violent activities through the sale of large quantities of high-grade marijuana. The drug trafficking routes extended to multiple states, including Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
Arrests and Seizures
As a result of these operations, law enforcement initiated a search for 72 suspects involved in federal gun and drug trafficking crimes. At the time of the roundup, 8 of the 80 defendants indicted were already in custody. Along with the arrests, authorities seized firearms, drugs, and cash. This includes 4 firearms, 2 ounces of cocaine, 1 ounce of crack cocaine, and $30,000 in cash.
Support from Law Enforcement Agencies
The success of these operations would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of various law enforcement agencies. The Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Pine Bluff Police Department, and Jonesboro Police Department all played a vital role in supporting the FBI throughout these operations. Additional support was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Arkansas National Guard Counterdrug Joint Task Force; and the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.
Prosecution and OCDETF Operations
The prosecution of these cases will be carried out by Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Peters and Amanda Fields. These cases are part of the larger efforts of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF is a program that seeks to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations that pose a threat to the United States. The approach is prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, and involves multiple agencies working together to combat organized crime.
Presumption of Innocence
It is important to remember that the indictments against these individuals only contain allegations. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The ongoing legal process will determine the guilt or innocence of each individual charged in connection with these investigations.
In conclusion, the arrests made as a result of these federal operations in Pine Bluff and Little Rock mark a significant step forward in combating drug and firearm trafficking. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies have led to the dismantling of criminal organizations and the prevention of further violence in the region. These operations serve as a testament to the dedication and commitment of law enforcement in protecting our communities from the harmful effects of illegal drugs and firearms.