by Max Brantley
Wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today arrested a White County couple on several wildlife violations. The pair allegedly used wild animals, such as deer, to make tamales in their roadside stand.
Fred Thomas Atkins III, 49 and his wife Betty Louise Williams, 28, were arrested at their tamale stand on Arkansas Highway 16 between Searcy and Pangburn. The couple was issued citations for several game violations including buying and selling wildlife. If convicted, Atkins and Williams would face fines up to $5,000 on each count and up to a year in jail. The two were taken to the White County Detention Center in Searcy.
The six-week investigation targeted the couple after undercover wildlife officers sold several deer to Atkins. The wildlife officers also purchased tamales suspected of being made with deer meat. Officers from the White County Sheriff’s Office and investigators with the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force, along with the AGFC, were involved in the investigation.
Capt. Bill Howell of the AGFC said the individuals were gathering as many illegal deer as they could get. “It was not only the wildlife violations that we were concerned about, but also the health concerns. It was a great team effort by several agencies to protect Arkansas’s valuable natural resources and allow the public to safely enjoy them,” Howell said.