Twenty-five people were arrested —joining the 27 people indicted who were already in custody—while nine individuals remain at large in connection with gun and drug-trafficking organizations, officials announced Wednesday.
Fifty of the 61 defendants are from Little Rock. The arrests come after an 18-month investigation, according to authorities.
Eight indictments were unsealed Wednesday, including five that alleged drug conspiracies.
The largest involved a 33-defendant, 67-count indictment alleging heroin and cocaine conspiracies, both headed by Aaron “Black” Clark, 33, of Little Rock.
Other indictments allege cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracies, and contain multiple methamphetamines, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine possession and distribution charges, as well as multiple gun charges.
“Targeting violent drug dealers remains a priority for my office, as well as for all law enforcement agencies in central Arkansas,” Acting U.S. Attorney Harris said. “Drugs continue to be a prime source of crime and violence in our city, and taking these criminals off the streets has made Little Rock a safer place.”
In late 2015, the FBI andNorth Little Rock Police Department began investigating the drug-trafficking activities of certain North Little Rock gangs.
Investigators soon learned the gangs’ source of supply of drugs came from individuals in Little Rock, according to officials.
Through the use of several investigative tactics, including the controlled purchases of drugs, multiple wiretaps, and the execution of search warrants, among other methods, agents with the FBI and LRPD located and identified multiple drug sources of supply, and more than 60 suspects.
Eventually, in November 2016, agents executed a search warrant at the west Little Rock residence of Clark. Agents seized more than $100,000 cash and jewelry, 170 grams of heroin, a marijuana grow operation and six firearms.
“Today’s arrests show our collective resolve to attack and dismantle these violent drug organizations that destroy our communities and generate fear in its citizens,” FBI SAC Diane Upchurch said.
Throughout the investigation, agents seized more than two kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin, more than a pound each of crack cocaine and methamphetamine, and eight ounces of fentanyl.
Officers seized these drugs during more than 25 controlled purchases, as well as during the execution of multiple search warrants. In addition, agents seized 25 guns and approximately $241,000 of drug proceeds.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.