LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Officials announced on Wednesday that a second round of arrests in a drug trafficking organization have been made.

Operation Ice Storm is an investigation into drug trafficking in Van Buren County. The early-morning raid led to arrests of 18 federal defendants and 20 state defendants on charges involving conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and use of a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking.

18 of the 19 defendants named in a federal indictment are in custody, with one defendant still at large in California. Three of the federal defendants were already in state custody on separate charges, and eight state defendants are still at large. United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray will hold initial appearances for the federal defendants on Thursday.

Operation Ice Storm began in January 2011 with an investigation into Jeffery Weaver and multiple other co-conspirators. The first phase of Operation Ice Storm resulted in the arrests of 54 defendants on state and federal charges on September 24, 2014.

Out of the 34 defendants who were arrested on federal charges, 21 have pleaded guilty or are scheduled to plead guilty, and two remain fugitives (James Knott and Isaac Jauregui-Estrada). As a result of this first phase, law enforcement determined that Anthony Silva, Wesley Harrison, Trey New, and the other named co-defendants were also responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in the Van Buren County area.

During the second phase of Operation Ice Storm, investigators used numerous law enforcement actions, including multiple undercover operations and court-authorized wiretaps.

In total, the second phase of Operation Ice Storm resulted in the seizure of approximately 123 pounds of methamphetamine, one pound of heroin, multiple firearms, and approximately $138,000 in drug proceeds. The defendants charged are responsible for distributing or possessing hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine in Van Buren County.

In Wednesday morning’s operation, approximately 8.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 52 grams of heroin, 16 firearms, and $24,085 in drug proceeds were seized.

The federal indictment, unsealed on Tuesday, was handed down by a Grand Jury on March 2. The indictment charges 19 defendants in 15 separate counts. The counts include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and the use of telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.

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 District Drug Task Force with assistance from several law enforcement agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Arkansas State Police, 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force.

The total arrests are listed below.

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine:

  • Anthony Silva
  • Wesley Harrison
  • Trey New
  • Cody Moses
  • John Paul York, AKA JP
  • William Eugene Jackson, aka Hog
  • Michael R. Phillips
  • John Barker
  • Rodney Holmes
  • Robert L. Wheeler, Jr.
  • Jerrod Roberts
  • Heather Parks

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine but less than 500 grams:

  • Tabbi R. Phillips
  • Edward Aaron Andrews
  • David Joseph Bernard
  • Cassidy Lorene Moses
  • Jodie Moses
  • Shelby McKay

Possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of methamphetamine actual:

  • John Paul York, AKA JP
  • Cassidy Lorene Moses
  • Patricia Zarychta

Possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine actual:

  • Jodie Moses

Possession with intent to distribute less than 50 grams of methamphetamine:

  • Michael R. Phillips
  • Tabbi R. Phillips

Use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug-trafficking crime:

  • Wesley Harrison
  • Trey New
  • William Eugene Jackson, AKA Hog
  • Michael R. Phillips
  • John Barker
  • Rodney Holmes
  • Edward Aaron Andrews
  • Robert L. Wheeler, Jr.
  • Jerrod Roberts

 

 

 

 

http://www.thv11.com/news/local/123-pounds-of-meth-seized-in-operation-ice-storm/110606186