by Max Brantley
The U.S. attorney's office and other law enforcement agencies participated in a news conference this afternoon about an 18-count indictment naming 20 people on charges related to a five-year methamphetamine distribution operation. The indictment seeks forfeiture of millions in alleged profits from the deals, plus a house in Austin, a Corvette, Hummer, Chevy Tahoe, firearms and bank CDs.
Here's the indictment. Anybody you know? They include Dustin Dyer, 33, a Benton lawyer.
Here's the news release on the operation, dubbed Big Winner. It targeted people importing "ice," or smokable meth, from Mexico. 17 people have been taken into custody since agents served search warrants in White and Lonoke counties. Photos show several pounds of meth found hidden in a length of pipe buried in the ground and meant to look like sewer pipe and some of the weapons seized (below).
Why the name of the operation? David Goins of Fox 16 reports that one of the defendants, Daniel Henry, won $100,000 in the Arkansas Lottery. When he turned up to accept his prize, I'm told, one of the people in his entourage was wearing a DEA cap.