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DES ARC RING LEADER IS SENTENCED IN OPERATION EVIL EYE

February 9, 2012

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced that on Wednesday, February 8, 2012, Norman Berry, age 52, of Des Arc, Arkansas, was sentenced to a term of 30 years imprisonment and 5 years supervised release for his role in Operation Evil Eye.

Berry entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute in excess of 500 grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine; and a plea of guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on September 12, 2011. Berry admitted to distributing between 5 and 15 kilograms of methamphetamine and to being an organizer or leader of the drug conspiracy.

“We are committed to work together in this district to dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in our communities,” stated Thyer. “When local law enforcement asks for assistance from federal partners as the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office and Des Arc Police Department did in this case, everyone benefits. Law enforcement, at all levels, is able to take advantage of increased manpower and resources to bring a case to a successful close. Citizens have another drug dealer removed from plaguing their streets with drugs for a very long time.”

In March 2010, a federal grand jury returned a twenty-eight count indictment charging thirty-one individuals in the Prairie, Lonoke, and Pulaski County areas with methamphetamine, marijuana, and firearms trafficking. Of those thirty-one defendants, twenty-seven entered guilty pleas, two received pretrial diversion, one was dismissed, and one is presently set for trial before the Hon. Brian S. Miller, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, on April 23, 2012.

The charges stemmed from a two-year state and federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation operationally dubbed “Evil Eye.” The investigation, which primarily focused on methamphetamine trafficking in the Des Arc and Ward, Arkansas, areas, was initiated by the DEA at the request of the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office and the Des Arc Police Department. The investigation resulted in the seizure of significant quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as the seizure of more than a dozen firearms.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office, DEA, ATF, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, Arkansas State Police, Prairie County Sheriff’s Office, Des Arc Police Department, Carlisle Police Department, Hazen Police Department, Prairie County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Peters.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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