Eight Firearms Arrests Made as Part of Violence Reduction Network Operation in West Memphis
LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Jeffrey Reed, Resident Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), announced today the final two arrests of a targeted operation designed to remove violent gun offenders from communities in and around West Memphis. Since Friday, June 17, 2016, eight individuals have been arrested in this ongoing operation, which is part of the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) initiative in West Memphis.
On Thursday, Derrico Dashawn Davis, 27, and Nakia Dejuan Mondy, 41, were arrested in the early-morning operation. They joined several others already in custody, including Marvis Ballard, 31, and Patrick Barrett, 22, who were arrested Wednesday night, and Orlando D. Ingram, 45, Marvin Meux, 43, and Burt Calvin Neely, 29, who were arrested last Friday. Nicco M. Alls, 28, was already in state custody when served the federal arrest warrant. All defendants are from West Memphis except Davis, who is from Osceola.
The eight defendants were named in separate indictments charging them with being felons in possession of firearms. United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere held initial appearance hearings on the three prior arrests and will hold initial appearances for the newly arrested defendants on Friday.
"These individuals are among the most dangerous members of their community, and removing them and their guns from the streets was a top priority," Thyer said. "I’m pleased that this coordinated effort through the VRN is succeeding in helping make our local communities safer, while at the same time punishing those who believe gun violence is somehow acceptable."
"Through partnerships with ATF, other federal agencies and local law enforcement, the removal of violent offenders from northeast Arkansas has made these communities a safer living environment for their citizens," Reed said.
In 2015, West Memphis was selected to participate in the VRN. The other cities comprising the VRN include: Little Rock; Detroit; Chicago; Compton, California; Flint, Michigan; Wilmington, Delaware; Newark and Camden, New Jersey; and Oakland and Richmond, California. The VRN is a comprehensive approach to reducing violent crime in communities around the country. Through the VRN, the Justice Department enlists tactical and operational expertise available from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the ATF, the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys, the Community Oriented Policing Services Office and the Office on Violence Against Women.
On Tuesday, Judge Deere issued an order detaining Meux. Meux was originally arrested by state authorities on October 21, 2015, after West Memphis police officers were dispatched to the 300 block of South 16th Street in West Memphis in reference to two subjects being held at gunpoint while attempting to repossess a car belonging to Meux. While attempting to hook up the car, Meux jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off in the vehicle, with a repossession employee still in the passenger seat. After fleeing a short distance, Meux drove back to his residence. After the employee exited Meux’s vehicle he saw Meux running towards him with a small black gun. The two repossession employees then got into their truck and drove away, while Meux pointed the gun at them.
West Memphis police officers received consent to search the residence and located an SKS assault rifle and a .38 caliber revolver. Meux has been previously convicted of drug offenses and is a high-ranking member of a gang known as the Gangster Disciples in West Memphis.
Ingram, the leader of the Gangster Disciples in West Memphis, was also arrested for his involvement in a shootout occurring in that city.
The federal indictments, unsealed today, were handed up by a Grand Jury on March 8, 2016. The seven separate indictments charge seven defendants with felon in possession of firearms. One complaint, issued by United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on June 21, 2016, charges an eighth defendant (Barrett) with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.
Previous convictions associated with the eight defendants include: murder in the first degree; battery 2nd degree; robbery; residential burglary; sale of a controlled substance; delivery of cocaine; possession of with intent to deliver cocaine; possession of a controlled substance; felon in possession of a firearm; aggravated assault; and hindering apprehension.
As a result of the joint effort, one assault rifle, one rifle, seven handguns, and multiple extended ammunition magazines were seized.
If convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Ingram and Neely will face a sentence of not less than 15 years to life imprisonment due to their prior criminal history. The other six defendants will face a sentence of not more than 10 years imprisonment.
The investigation and prosecution of this case is a coordinated effort through the ATF, DEA, FBI, West Memphis Police Department, Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola Police Department, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, Jonesboro Police Department, Shelby County Multi-Agency Gang Unit, and Memphis Police Department. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Gordon and Liza Jane Brown.
An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.