arrests, ATF, charges, Clinton AR, DEA, defendants, drug task forces, drug trafficking, federal charges, indictment, investigation, Jeffery Weaver, JWeaver DTO, Little Rock AR, meth, methamphetamine, tire shop, U.S. Attorney, Van Buren County AR
Little Rock, Ark. — An investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization, labeled the JWeaver DTO, based in Clinton, Ark., resulted in the arrests Wednesday of multiple defendants on charges involving possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and weapons possession. Ten of the defendants were already in state custody on separate charges.
The indictment, unsealed Wednesday afternoon, was handed down by a Federal Grand Jury on Sept. 11, 2014. The indictment charges 34 defendants in 45 separate counts. The counts include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, aiding and abetting the distribution of methamphetamine, felon in possession of firearms, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and the use of telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.
Christopher R. Thyer, U.S, Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; along with David Downing, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); 20th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland; and Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley made the announcement.
“Today, a major drug trafficking organization in Van Buren County was dismantled,” stated Thyer. “This organization put the citizens and children of Clinton and the surrounding community at risk every day. Through the efforts of law enforcement at all levels, we have brought federal charges against these drug-dealing criminals to get them off and keep them off the streets for years to come.”
“Methamphetamine destroys the lives of its abusers and has far-reaching negative effects in the communities where it takes hold,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Downing. “By targeting local distribution networks in Arkansas, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are working to reduce overall crime and improve the quality of life for area residents. The numerous arrests and seizures in this investigation are the result of our close cooperation and part of our on-going efforts to ensure that drug traffickers are held responsible for the harm they cause.”
Prosecutor Cody Hiland added, “today’s arrests are the culmination of an 18-month criminal investigation that began with a local tire shop in Clinton. I think today’s operation certainly highlights the value of our local drug task forces and the virtue of working with other state and federal law enforcement agencies in helping make our communities more safe. The operation today is historic in scope and size and its impact on the illegal drug trade in Van Buren County will continue to be felt in the years to come.”
The DEA and 20th Judicial Drug Task Force investigation began in January 2011. Multiple undercover operations and numerous other law enforcement actions, including multiple seizures of methamphetamine were used during the investigation. All told, the Task Force purchased and seized more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine from the Jeffery Weaver drug trafficking organization (DTO) through controlled purchases and search warrants. The DEA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) also seized a total of 52 firearms. In addition, the defendants charged in the indictment are responsible for distributing or possessing over 300 pounds of methamphetamine.
If convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine each defendant will face a sentence of not less than 10 years to life imprisonment.
The investigation and prosecution of this case is a coordinated effort through the David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and was conducted by the DEA and the 20th Judicial Drug Task Force with assistance from several law enforcement agencies including the ATF, Arkansas State Police, Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas National Guard, Conway Police Department, and the United States Marshal Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristin Bryant and Stephanie Mazzanti.
To view the 34-page indictment, which includes the names of all defendants and all charges against them, click HERE.
An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.