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JOINT DRUG INVESTIGATION LEADS TO FEDERAL INDICTMENT OF 24 INDIVIDUALS IN PINE BLUFF AND SURROUNDING AREAS; ANOTHER 10 PERSONS CHARGED IN STATE COURT

February 16, 2012

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; William J. Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Pine Bluff Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones; and Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson, announced numerous arrests today stemming from a multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking activities in the Pine Bluff area.

On February 8, 2012, nine federal indictments were returned by a grand jury for the Eastern District charging 24 defendants with drug conspiracy and multiple substantive counts of distributing crack cocaine. State officials charged an additional 10 defendants related to this investigation with drug offenses in Jefferson County Circuit Court. A majority of the 34 charged defendants have prior criminal history involving drug trafficking and other violent offenses.

In April 2009, DEA, working jointly with the Pine Bluff Police Department's Vice & Narcotics Section, began investigating a drug trafficking organization headed by Quentin Tidwell and Keenan Packard. Investigators determined that the drug trafficking organization was responsible for distributing three to four kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine per month in the Central and South Arkansas areas and had been in operation for years. The group was based out of Pine Bluff, but also had significant distribution activities in Little Rock, Stuttgart, Humphrey, Altheimer, and Dumas. Intelligence gathered also indicated that the drug trafficking organization had direct ties to several towns and cities within the state of Texas, including Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Dallas.

“We continue to target the drug trafficking organizations in the Eastern District to make our communities safer for all citizens. It took years of work by federal, state, and local law enforcement to make this operation successful,” stated Thyer. “In addition to the arrests made in this case, a number of weapons were seized – guns that will no longer be used in criminal activity in the towns where we seek to live in peace.”

Bryant agreed, “This investigation took good solid police work and the teamwork of multiple agencies.” Bryant added, “With the additional support provided by the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) we continue to dismantle drug trafficking organizations in Arkansas.”

The case was initiated by DEA HIDTA #61 and the Tri County Drug Task Force, which is comprised of officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Pine Bluff Police Department. HIDTA #161 consists of special agents from the DEA, as well as officers and personnel from the following agencies: Pine Bluff Police Department; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department; Jacksonville Police Department; 20th Judicial District Drug Task Force; Little Rock Police Department; Arkansas Highway Police; and the Arkansas National Guard. Other agencies participating in today’s arrests include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Arkansas State Police; and the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The federal case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anne Gardner and Edward O. Walker.

An indictment contains only allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Pine Bluff Defendant List Adobe Icon Image)

(Pine Bluff Indictments Adobe Icon Image)

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Christopher R. Thyer

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