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11 arrested in drug ring takedown in Pulaski County, Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - (8/9/18) Eleven people are facing federal drug and firearms charges after federal, state and local law enforcement officers took part in an early-morning operation.

According to Cody Hiland, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, a significant drug-trafficking organization responsible for distributing kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances in central Arkansas has been dismantled. 

The following people are facing federal drug and firearm charges in connection to the investigation:
John Garner, also known as Peter Morris and UNC,50, of Hensley
James "Richie Rich" Richards, 49, of Wrightsville
Cedric "CED" Bradley, 44, of Little Rock
Larry Clark, 36, of Little Rock
Antwan Hardaway, 34, of Newport
Jalisa Johnson, 28, of North Little Rock
Isaac May, 39, of Sweet Home
Laquentin Nichols, 39, of Little Rock
Christopher "POPEYE" Seals, 43, of Little Rock
Jasper Vick, 37, of Little Rock
Bridgette Williams, 43, of North Little Rock

Seven defendants were arrested Thursday morning. One defendant was already in federal custody.

Authorities are still searching for Larry Clark, Jalisha Johnson and Bridgette Williams.

During the course of the investigation in 2018, law enforcement utilized four court-authorized wiretaps, intercepting hundreds of drug-trafficking calls. Law enforcement agents conducted controlled buys totaling more than a kilogram of cocaine, and during search warrants executed in June 2018 seized approximately 7 kilograms of cocaine, 3.5 kilograms of marijuana, 13 firearms—including two SKS semi-automatic rifles and a Kel-Tec CNC PLR-16 semi-automatic pistol—and approximately $9,540 in
cash. Previously, in February 2014, the Arkansas State Police stopped a vehicle on Interstate 40 in Pope County and seized approximately $328,000 in cash from a courier for the drug trafficking organization.

During Thursday morning’s arrest operation agents seized another 13 ounces of cocaine. 

“Today’s operation took down a significant drug trafficking organization which has been operating for years in central Arkansas,” Hiland said. “These are dangerous, repeat offenders who should not be walking our streets and spreading poison in our community. I am a firm believer in the notion that crime flourishes when there is little cost to the criminal for his destructive behavior. My goal is to ensure criminals pay a consistent, painful cost for continuing to hurt our people. Today’s joint federal, state and
local operation allowed us to make significant progress in our effort to accomplish that
goal.”

The arrests resulted from an FBI GET Rock task force investigation. GET Rock was formed at the request of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in response to the escalation in gang and gun violence in Little Rock. Nine central Arkansas law enforcement agencies—the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshal’s Service, Little Rock Police Department (LRPD), Pulaski County Sherriff’s Office (PCSO), Arkansas State Police (ASP), and Arkansas Community Corrections— comprise GET Rock, which is coordinated out of the FBI Little Rock field office and continues to serve as the clearinghouse for all gang-related law enforcement actions in Little Rock.

“The operation today dismantled a group of criminals who destroy and tear at the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities,” stated FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Scott Reinhardt. “Thank you to the Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Arkansas Air National Guard, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.”

The defendants include two individuals with prior federal convictions for drug trafficking and one with a prior federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Four of the 11 are currently on state parole or federal supervised release. Multiple defendants have previously been convicted of state felonies, including murder. One defendant previously convicted of state drug trafficking offenses had a 40-year sentence commuted in 2003.

Based on the investigation, it is alleged that between April 2017 and June 2018, the defendants distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Wrightsville, Woodson, and Hensley. The investigation is ongoing.

The defendants arrested Thursday will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney on August 10 at 2:00 p.m. for plea and arraignment.

The charges in today’s unsealed indictments include conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana; distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and felon in possession of a firearm.

The maximum penalty for the drug charges is not less than 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime is not less than five years in prison and up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  

The investigation was conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the LRPD, NLRPD, ASP, PCSO, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, and the Arkansas Air National Guard. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless
and until proven guilty.


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