In what United States Attorney Conner Eldridge called “Operation Crystal Clear,” a group of law enforcement officials announced Thursday 16 arrests in an investigation targeting methamphetamine drug trafficking in south Arkansas. Eldridge said this investigation centered in Waldo and Magnolia and reached out to Texarkana and Dallas, Texas.
Fourteen of will face state charges, and 10 will face federal charges.
Sixteen arrests were made Thursday, Eldridge stated, with five search warrants executed in Magnolia, Waldo, Dallas, Texarkana, and DeSoto, Texas.
“This has been an investigation into large scale drug trafficking in south Arkansas,” Eldridge stated during a press conference at the Columbia County Courthouse. “During the course of this investigation over three pounds of methamphetamine has been seized, five firearms, and over $150,000 in cash that represents proceeds of this drug trafficking activity. This is clearly a major drug operation in south Arkansas.”
Those arrested include:
- Curtis J. Cole aka “Peetie” of Waldo (facing federal charges)
- Courtney Loudermill of Waldo (facing federal charges)
- Jamie Martin of Waldo (facing federal charges)
- Claudie Miller Jr. aka “June Bug” or “Bug” of Dallas, Texas (facing federal charges)
- Lee Oliver Williams aka “Trick” of Magnolia (facing federal charges)
- Eric Wyrick of Texarkana, Texas (facing federal charges)
- Steven Atkinson of Waldo (facing state charges)
- Johnny Carter of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- Brandon Chambliss of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- Sammy Shane Cogbill of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- Michael D. Hunter of Waldo (facing state charges)
- Mario Meadows of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- Sammy Otwell of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- Ricardo Walker aka “Lil One” of Waldo (facing state charges)
- Jarrod Wilson of Magnolia (facing state charges)
- John Woodward of Magnolia (facing state charges)
The defendants face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for the distribution of methamphetamine. The most serious charges for distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and for conspiracy to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine have maximum penalties of life in prison. Four federal and four state defendants remain fugitives.
Operation Crystal Clear is a joint operation between the Little Rock FBI Division and El Dorado RA Safe Streets Task Force, which consists of the Magnolia Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, El Dorado Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Department, Camden Police Department, Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, Crossett Police Department, Arkansas State Police, and Southern Arkansas University Police Department. Other agencies assisting with the operation include: the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, FBI Texarkana Texas RA, Dallas FBI Division, and the Bi-State Narcotics Task Force which consists of Texarkana, Arkansas and Texas Police Departments and the Miller County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Quinn and Jonathan Ross are prosecuting the case for the Western District of Arkansas.