Three federal operations in Pine Bluff and Little Rock lead to dozens of drug and firearm arrests
Three federal investigations culminated in 45 arrests this morning. An investigative focus on the pipeline of drugs and firearms between Pine Bluff and Little Rock resulted in the indictment of 80 individuals, all charged with various federal firearms and drug trafficking charges in multiple indictments that were unsealed today.
Two FBI operations, each focused on a rival gang, were created to address violence and drug trafficking in the corridor between Pine Bluff and Little Rock. The investigations focused on rival gangs responsible for violence throughout central Arkansas, with one operation focused on the EBK or Every Body Killas gang and resulting in the indictment of 35 defendants.
The second investigation focused on the Loady Murder Mobb gang and resulted in the indictment of 26 defendants. Three more defendants, Quincy Martez Chambers, D’eandreian Devonte Meadows, and Joseph Riggins, Jr., are charged separately in stand-alone indictments. Three defendants are named in multiple indictments.
A third operation, this one led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), began in August 2021 when DEA and the North Little Rock Police Department identified street-level methamphetamine and fentanyl dealers in central Arkansas who were connected to the same source of supply.
Investigation revealed the drugs were being mailed into Arkansas from California, and these shipments—which included kilogram-quantities of methamphetamine and thousands of pressed fentanyl pills—were then distributed to individuals in Little Rock and Pine Bluff as well as Houston, Texas. This investigation culminated in the indictment of 18 defendants. Manuel Taylor was charged in a separate indictment.
Pine Bluff Police Detective Kevin Collins was shot and killed in October 2020 while serving an arrest warrant on an EBK associate wanted for a homicide in Georgia. Prior to his death, Detective Collins was assisting FBI with intelligence related to criminal activity of these gangs, as well as surveillance, interviews, and arrests of individuals responsible for criminal activity in Pine Bluff.
In March 2021, the FBI’s GETROCK Task Force obtained a wiretap and used a total of twelve wiretaps through June 2022 as a source of real-time information to intervene and prevent violence in Pine Bluff, Little Rock, and other communities throughout the state. Law enforcement discovered that the gangs were funding their violent activity primarily through the sale of large quantities of high-grade marijuana. The investigation revealed drug trafficking and travel between Arkansas and Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
Law enforcement began early this morning by searching for 72 suspects, all of whom were indicted for federal gun and drug trafficking crimes. Of the 80 defendants indicted in the three investigations, 8 of those were already in custody when this morning’s roundup began. In addition to the arrests, during the operation authorities seized 4 firearms, one of which was an AR-style pistol; 2 ounces of cocaine; 1 ounce of crack cocaine; and $30,000 cash.
Prior to today’s FBI arrests in their operations involving the EBK and Loady Murder Mobb gangs, investigators seized 42 firearms, including two machine guns; approximately $775,000 in cash and $428,000 in jewelry; approximately 278 pounds of marijuana, which has an approximate street value of $450,000; 7 ounces of cocaine; 3 ounces of crack cocaine; 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine; and 116 pills containing fentanyl.
Before today’s DEA arrests, investigators seized $146,000 in cash, 10 firearms, 12 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.2 kilograms of powder fentanyl, 600 pressed fentanyl pills, 10 pounds of marijuana, and nine ounces of cocaine.
Twenty-seven fugitives remain after this morning’s arrests. Most of the defendants who were arrested this morning will appear at a later date for arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe.
The FBI conducted their operations with assistance from 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. FBI’s GETROCK Task Force was formed in 2017 in response to the escalation in gang and gun violence in Little Rock.
The unit’s investigations and operations are coordinated out of FBI Little Rock’s field office, and GETROCK continues to serve as the clearinghouse for gang-related law enforcement activity in Central Arkansas. 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. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Peters and Amanda Fields with assistance from Cameron McCree.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Little Rock District Office conducted their operation with assistance from DEA Riverside, California District Office; USPIS; North Little Rock Police Department; Sherwood Police Department; and Benton Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.
These efforts are part of several Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operations. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.