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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Central Arkansas Drug Organization Dismantled; Eleven Defendants Face Federal Drug and Firearms Charges

LITTLE ROCK—A collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested multiple defendants Thursday in an early-morning operation that dismantled a significant drug-trafficking organization responsible for distributing kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances in central Arkansas.

Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Scott Reinhardt, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the FBI, announced the arrests and the unsealing of a federal indictment charging 11 defendants with federal drug and firearms offenses in the central Arkansas area. Seven defendants were arrested Thursday morning, while one defendant was already in federal custody. Larry Clark, 36, of Little Rock, Jalisha Johnson, 28, of North Little Rock, and Bridgette Williams, 43, of North Little Rock, remain fugitives.

During the course of the investigation in 2018, law enforcement utilized four court-authorized wiretaps, intercepting hundreds of drug-trafficking calls. Law enforcement agents conducted controlled buys totaling more than a kilogram of cocaine, and during search warrants executed in June 2018 seized approximately 7 kilograms of cocaine, 3.5 kilograms of marijuana, 13 firearms—including two SKS semi-automatic rifles and a Kel-Tec CNC PLR-16 semi-automatic pistol—and approximately $9,540 in cash. Previously, in February 2014, the Arkansas State Police stopped a vehicle on Interstate 40 in Pope County and seized approximately $328,000 in cash from a courier for the drug trafficking organization.

During Thursday morning’s arrest operation agents seized another 13 ounces of cocaine.

“Today’s operation took down a significant drug trafficking organization which has been operating for years in central Arkansas,” Hiland said. “These are dangerous, repeat offenders who should not be walking our streets and spreading poison in our community. I am a firm believer in the notion that crime flourishes when there is little cost to the criminal for his destructive behavior. My goal is to ensure criminals pay a consistent, painful cost for continuing to hurt our people. Today’s joint federal, state and local operation allowed us to make significant progress in our effort to accomplish that goal.”

The arrests resulted from a FBI GET Rock task force investigation. GET Rock was formed at the request of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in response to the escalation in gang and gun violence in Little Rock. Nine central Arkansas law enforcement agencies—the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshal’s Service, Little Rock Police Department (LRPD), Pulaski County Sherriff’s Office (PCSO), Arkansas State Police (ASP), and Arkansas Community Corrections—comprise GET Rock, which is coordinated out of the FBI Little Rock field office and continues to serve as the clearinghouse for all gang-related law enforcement actions in Little Rock.

“The operation today dismantled a group of criminals who destroy and tear at the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities,” stated FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Reinhardt. “Thank you to the Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Arkansas Air National Guard, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.”

The defendants include two individuals with prior federal convictions for drug trafficking and one with a prior federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Four of the 11 are currently on state parole or federal supervised release. Multiple defendants have previously been convicted of state felonies, including murder. One defendant previously convicted of state drug trafficking offenses had a 40-year sentence commuted in 2003.

Based on the investigation, it is alleged that between April 2017 and June 2018, the defendants distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Wrightsville, Woodson, and Hensley. The investigation is ongoing.

The defendants arrested today will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney on August 10, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. for plea and arraignment.

The charges in today’s unsealed indictments include conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana; distribution and firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and felon in possession of a firearm.

The maximum penalty for the drug charges is not less than 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment, and a $10,000,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime is not less than five years in prison and up to life imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The case, docketed as Case No. 4:18CR00357 JM, is pending before U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.; the trial date will be announced at plea and arraignment.
The defendants charged include:

JOHN GARNER, aka PETER MORRIS, aka UNC, age 50, of Hensley
JAMES RICHARDS, aka RICHIE RICH, age 49, of Wrightsville
CEDRIC BRADLEY, aka CED, age 44, of Little Rock
LARRY CLARK, age 36, of Little Rock
ANTWAN HARDAWAY, age 34, of Newport
JALISA JOHNSON, age 28, of North Little Rock
ISAAC MAY, age 39, of Sweet Home
LAQUENTIN NICHOLS, age 39, of Little Rock
CHRISTOPHER SEALS, aka POPEYE, age 43, of Little Rock
JASPER VICK, age 37, of Little Rock
BRIDGETTE WILLIAMS, age 43, of North Little Rock

The investigation was conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the LRPD, NLRPD, ASP, PCSO, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, and Arkansas Air National Guard. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available on-line at
http://www.justice.gov/edar

Twitter:
@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated August 9, 2018