Personnel from Region 8 and state law enforcement agencies came together Tuesday in arresting 12 people wanted by federal authorities.
These people were wanted on indictments stemming from a year-long investigation into meth trafficking in Arkansas.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott and Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd said officers from their agencies, the Arkansas State Police, the Second Judicial District Drug Task Force and the Jonesboro Police Department's SWAT unit, assisted agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals in making the arrests early Tuesday morning.
The investigation began in February 2013. The DEA seized around 96 pounds of meth, which has an estimated street value of $1.9 million.
One alleged large-scale meth dealer was arrested during this operation. Joseph Farrell is suspected of selling between 5 and 15 pounds of meth per week in the Jonesboro area. According to a news release from the U.S. Justice Department, Farrell had supply sources in Blytheville and San Jose, California. He occasionally received shipments of meth and marijuana from California by FedEx.
The indictment charges a total of 22 defendants in 43 separate counts. Those counts include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of meth, distribution of meth, possession with intent to distribute, and using a communication facility in a drug-trafficking crime. If convicted, each defendant will face a sentence from 10 years to life in prison.
The 12 men and women were taken to the Craighead County Jail before being transferred by bus to the Pulaski County Jail, Boyd said.
The defendants are expected to appear in federal court at Little Rock on the charges later this week, local officials said.
The Arkansas Army National Guard supported the operation by providing aerial surveillance and transportation, a spokesman for the National Guard said.