Jonesboro Drug Sweep Nets 9 Arrests

JONESBORO, AR -- It's a case several agencies have been investigating for over a year now and with 9 arrests in Jonesboro, it could be a huge step to cleaning up the drugs in Region 8. They are big time drug dealers, distributing and selling cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

"Historically, it's probably one of the bigger cases that has ever been made here," says Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates.

35 year old Demetrius Rufus runs the Exxon at the corner of Johnson and Main in Jonesboro. Not only was Rufus arrested for the drugs, police found over $122,000 dollars in counterfeit U.S. money in his possession. His wife, 27 year old Catrina Rufus was arrested as well.

Another arrestee, 42 year old Denise Thomas, worked as a bail bondsman right next to the Craighead County Jail, where Denise herself was locked up Monday.

"These are people that have been doing this for a long time. Their influence and their ability to distribute large quantities of drugs has been somewhat well known. This is one of the first times we've ever been able to impact it severely," says Chief Yates.

And these 3 weren't the only ones arrested. Six others from Jonesboro were part of the drug sweep as well, including:

-24 year old Nicholas Davis

-28 year old Reginald Akins

-31 year old Leo Brinkley

-42 year old Charles Sweat

-23 year old Derrick Poole

-24 year old Christopher Hutson

Chief Yates says this big bust took work from all levels.

"We couldn't have done it without the sheriff's department, DEA and everybody else. It's a good example of working together to get some of these larger dealers off the street," adds Chief Yates.

Because it's a federal indictment, the actual charges with this drug bust are not being released just yet. Police say those arrested were taken to the Craighead County Jail Monday and will later be transported to Little Rock in custody of the U.S. Marshalls.

*UPDATE* Seven Jonesboro residents pleaded not guilty today in federal court in Little Rock in an investigation of drug trafficking in northeast Arkansas. They are accused of conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine and marijuana. The judge allowed three to go free on their own recognizance and ordered two to home detention. A sixth person was ordered held, pending the trial, while a seventh defendant is expected to get a bond hearing later this week. Another three named in the indictment will be arraigned later. In all, ten people were indicted in the investigation. Other arrests are expected. An April Second trial date was scheduled.