The Fort Smith region and the rest of Arkansas now have fewer drugs and drug dealers on their streets.
Authorities with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and personnel have concluded Operation Task Force Arkansas, which targeted violent drug traffickers throughout the state. The operation, which was executed over the course of several days, resulted in hundreds of arrests and the seizure of over 1,000 pounds of drugs throughout the state, according to a Drug Enforcement Agency news release.
"With this operation, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have severely disrupted multiple drug trafficking organizations operating in Arkansas," DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King said. "These enforcement actions will have an immediate impact on the drug trafficking organizations' ability to conduct business as usual."
Operation Task Force was conducted out of the DEA Little Rock District Office in conjunction with the 19 drug task forces in Arkansas. The task forces, including the 12th and 21st District Drug Task Force in Sebastian and Crawford counties, partnered with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to target the most violent drug traffickers and organizations in communities throughout Arkansas, the DEA release states.
Authorities statewide arrested 1,260 people on federal and state charges and seized 37 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1,293 pounds of marijuana, 47 kilograms of cocaine, almost one kilogram of heroin, 228,913 controlled prescription pills, 211 firearms, $357,399 and 32 vehicles over the course of the operation, the DEA release states. Within the operation, members of the 12th and 21st District Drug Task Force, which operates in Sebastian and Crawford counties, arrested 60 people and seized 213 grams of meth, 100 pounds of marijuana, one gram of heroin, 12 oxycodone pills, 15 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 17 firearms and $11,645 in illegal cash proceeds, according to a Drug Task Force news release.
The 12th and 21st District Drug Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the Fort Smith and Greenwood police departments, the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office and the Sebastian and Crawford County prosecuting attorney's offices, worked in conjunction with the DEA, Arkansas State Police, the Crawford County Sheriff's Office, state parole and probation officers and the Van Buren, Greenwood and Fort Smith police departments during the operation, the Drug Task Force news release states.
"This effort highlights the great inter-agency cooperation of area agencies committed to reduce and eliminate drug dealing in our communities," Drug Task Force Director Paul Smith stated in the release. "Our promise to the community is aggressive drug law enforcement to reduce and eliminate drug trafficking in our communities."
In the announcement of the operation results, Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland touted the role of local drug task forces.
"In my seven years as an elected state prosecutor, I came to depend on the important work done by drug task forces," Hiland said. "This significant operation, which led to the arrest of hundreds of criminals, underscores just how valuable these task forces are in the law enforcement tool box. As United States Attorney, my office stands ready, willing and eager to work with our local and state partners to ensure a safer Arkansas for its citizens."
"This week's operation is a great example on how effective we can be when we work together," said Duane "DAK" Kees, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, which includes the Fort Smith region. "I am thankful for all the hard work and dedication from all our state and local task force officers and special agents."