Arrests dismantle North Little Rock cocaine ring


The heads of a drug trafficking ring responsible for distributing 8-10 kilograms of cocaine in the Little Rock area per week were arrested in Operation Chopping Cherry Trees.23 people were arrested total, which includes 15 arrested Monday by 70 law enforcement personnel.Christopher Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said the majority of the individuals arrested have made dealing drugs a lifelong career, calling them the worst of the worst who are "poisoning our streets and making our city unsafe."The case started last year with complaints of drug sales, specifically cocaine and crack cocaine, around the area of 16th to 18th Streets west of Pike Avenue, according to the North Little Rock Police Department.{}The investigation involved wire taps and physical surveillance and involved several agencies.{}Monday, 15 individuals were arrested. Eight were already in custody.Of those, officers were able to apprehend the head of a cocaine distribution cell linked to McAllen, Texas, Hector Delgado, and his associate Wilmer Geovani Fuentes Ramos.Thyer said the cell was responsible for distributing around 10 kilograms of cocaine per week in the Little Rock area, including Pulaski and Saline Counties.{}"These 23 individuals are not street level dealers. They are not first time offenders," Thyer said. "Too often there's a perception that the federal government is targeting first time dealers or addicts and people of that nature. Nothing could be further from the truth."Thyer said nearly all of those arrested have extensive criminal histories and have served prison time.