U.S. Attorney announces seizure of 69 guns and over 25 pounds of meth
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KATV) —
It began with investigating a white supremacist group last year, and led law enforcement agencies from federal, state, and local levels to over two dozen arrests this morning.
It's been in the works for nearly two years.
"We have a culmination of a very large operation that ended successfully," Cody Hiland, newly appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said.
200 officers, 150 in tactical gear, raided areas in Pope and Yell counties, arresting 27 people in connection with distributing methamphetamine and unlawfully possessing firearms.
"This is an example of what can happen, federal, state and local officials cooperate together," Hiland said.
The 27 are a part of roughly 70 people being indicted by the U.S. attorney.
This morning's raid, officers seized THESE 46 guns, bringing their grand total to 69 seized since this investigation began.
During that time frame, as well, they've seized over 25 pounds of meth worth roughly $70,000.
"We responded to people who were caught doing bad things and I think our communities were safer because of that," said Hiland.
"This operation was a victory, a big victory for Pope County," Shane Jones, Sheriff of Pope County, said.
Hiland released 44 names of people being indicted, of those 44, nine were devout white supremacists, with eight coming from the group New Aryan Empire.
The NAE, were the reason this investigation began in the first place, when local law enforcement began looking into whether the group was participating in illegal activity in 2016.
"There are people in our community that do bad things,” said Hiland. “They sell drugs, and they have weapons and they're violent people and this lets them know that if they break the law they're going to be held accountable."
After Hiland finished his remarks, Sheriff Jones took to the podium to simply say, stay tuned, there's more to come.
Those arrested today will be arraigned in federal court, here in Little Rock, on October 13th.