UPDATE, 7:45 p.m., June 17, 2019: A list of those arrested has been released. Click here for more from White River Now.
Authorities with the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office and the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force announced the distribution of arrest warrants for 40 people as the result of an 18-month-long investigation targeting methamphetamine dealers and traffickers.
The operation, called Operation Lake Ice – Phase 2, is the largest round-up in the county, according to Cleburne County Sheriff Chris Brown.
In a press conference today with 16th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Eric Hance, the sheriff noted the investigation began after the arrests of 21 people in phase one of the operation, which specifically targets meth dealers.
Brown noted detectives with the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the 16th Judicial Drug Task force “…have been working hard investigating and putting cases together, trying to put drug dealers behind bars and keep our community as drug-free as possible.”
“It [the operation] reaffirms our commitment to the citizens of Cleburne County in fighting this drug epidemic that has plagued not only our county, but also the state and this nation,” the sheriff said.
Seventy-five members of law enforcement from various agencies started serving the warrants early Monday morning.
The sheriff and the prosecuting attorney emphasized the cooperation of multiple law-enforcement agencies throughout the district and the state during the investigation, including the Heber Springs Police Department, the Greers Ferry Police Department, the Independence County Sheriff’s Department, the Batesville Police Department, the White County Sheriff’s Department, the Searcy Police Department, the Arkansas State Police, and more.
Hance told reporters the prosecuting attorney’s office would like to see Operation Lake Ice be a model for cooperation among law enforcement agencies across north central Arkansas.
“One thing that we hope this will do is to make people aware of the depth and breadth of the drug problem not just in Cleburne County but all over the 16th Judicial District and all over northern Arkansas,” Hance added.
Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. and Ozark Newsline on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ. White River Now updates are also broadcast weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. If you have a news tip or event to promote, email White River Now at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to like and follow White River Now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.