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Operation Ice Pick Results in Charges against 23 Defendants for Drug Trafficking in Arkansas

SEP 21 (Gurdon, Ark.) – William Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that 23 individuals have been charged with drug trafficking offenses as part of Operation Ice Pick, which targeted drug trafficking activity in Gurdon, Arkansas and the surrounding area, including Arkadelphia and Malvern. Six individuals have been indicted in Federal Court and 13 additional individuals have been charged in Clark County Circuit Court. Four additional individuals were charged with drug trafficking offenses in Malvern, Arkansas, two of those in Federal Court and two of those in Hot Spring County Circuit Court.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bill Bryant said, “Unfortunately, small towns in Arkansas are not immune to drug trafficking. DEA worked with state and local counterparts in this area of the state in an effort to disrupt these drug trafficking activities.”

United States Attorney Eldridge commented “Like many small towns, Gurdon has been plagued by drug trafficking - including selling drugs near schools and playgrounds. With this case, numerous drug traffickers in the area have been arrested and are being prosecuted. Cleaning up drug activity is vital to the success of Gurdon, as it is for all communities. For this reason, we remain focused on prosecuting drug trafficking across the Western District.”

Prosecuting Attorney Batson said, “In Operation Ice Pick, we have used the resources and tools of the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and local law enforcement to break up, pick at and chip away the ice (Methamphetamine) trafficking in this county. With their assistance and with the dedication and countless hours of work done by Group 6 Task Force Officers, Gurdon Police Department, Clark County Sheriff's Deputies, Arkansas State Police, Arkadelphia Police, and Arkansas Highway Police, we are protecting our children and families from this devastating drug.”

Sheriff Watson added “I appreciate the assistance from all of the agencies involved as this was a very vital operation in Clark County. Taking office, I knew that we had a major problem in the Southern area of our county. We hope that today’s operation shows that we will have a zero tolerance policy on this type of behavior. If you live in Clark County and choose to engage in this activity and supply our children with dangerous drugs, you can expect these results.”

The investigation included numerous controlled purchases of methamphetamine and crack cocaine in Gurdon, Arkansas and the surrounding area. In many cases, children were present during the drug transactions. Grand Jury indictments were unsealed on September 20, 2012 charging Elander Kennel, Samson Kadari, Andrae Barnes, Jerome Macon, Kenyuan Morris, and Samuel Barrientos with federal drug trafficking offenses. Kennel, Kardari, and Barnes are brothers. Criminal Informations filed in Clark County, Arkansas Circuit Court charging Julian Marks, James Campbell, Chris Penny, Teresa Grigsby, Marcus Horton, John Powell, Thomas Gulley, Bobby Charles, Wheatie Wells, Candelario Leon, Bobby Holiman, and Carlton Marks were also announced today.

The maximum penalty for the federal charge of distribution of methamphetamine in this case is 40 years in prison.

Operation Ice Pick is a joint operation between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Ninth East Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkadelphia Police, the Gurdon Police and the Arkansas Highway Police. U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, Prosecuting Attorney Blake Batson, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Wulff are prosecuting the case. The charges in an Indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless or until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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