66 people charged in South Ark. drug, weapons probe

TEXARKANA – The Associated Press reports that federal prosecutors have charged 66 people with selling crack cocaine and methamphetamines near playgrounds, schools and public housing in Texarkana, according to an indictment made public Tuesday.

The indictment lists 190 counts ranging from drug possession with intent to distribute to the illegal possession of a 12-gauge shotgun, handguns and other weapons. Dozens of people were caught selling drugs between June 2010 and this August, the indictment alleges.

Several agencies were involved in the yearlong investigation, according to U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge’s office. Eldridge was expected to announce more findings from the investigation Tuesday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Texarkana, on the border between Arkansas and Texas. 

More than a dozen defendants are accused of selling drugs at or near Pinehurst Village, a public housing complex in Texarkana. Others are accused of selling near several public schools in the city.

Eldridge’s office says the investigation included “a number of controlled buys” from defendants.

The investigation marks the third major drug bust in Arkansas in as many weeks. On Oct. 4, Eldridge’s office announced 54 drug arrests in four southern Arkansas counties.

Federal prosecutors in eastern Arkansas last week announced the indictments of 70 people — including five law enforcement officers — as part of a four-year investigation into drug trafficking and corruption in eastern Arkansas.

Eldridge’s office says there aren’t any known connections between last week’s investigation, known as “Operation Delta Blues,” and the one announced Tuesday. No law enforcement officers were arrested in this investigation.

It was not immediately clear if defendants in the case had attorneys yet.


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