A joint operation between the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District, the FBI and state prosecutor Scott Ellington unsealed 40 federal indictments this afternoon that charged 70 defendants with drug trafficking and gun offenses in Mississippi County. The operation, called "Blynd Justus", was the culmination of two years of federal investigations, according to U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer
The indictments were returned by a grand jury on August 5, according to a release from Thyer's office:
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, named Blynd Justus, began in 2013, with a goal to target steadily increasing drug and gun crime in Mississippi County. Early Tuesday morning 574 law enforcement officers, including more than 300 tactical officers, helped execute the arrest warrants in a targeted takedown that resulted in the arrests of 50 defendants on various federal firearm and drug charges, including eleven defendants who were already in state custody. Twenty defendants are now fugitives. Most of the defendants are residents of Blytheville.
“When I was confirmed as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas five years ago I made a commitment to help clean up the Arkansas Delta,” Thyer said. “It has been evident for some time that drugs and guns are overrunning the entire Arkansas Delta in general, and Mississippi County in particular. Today’s operation is a signal to those criminals that the law enforcement community at all levels will find you and stop you. Our collective goal is to return these communities to their law-abiding citizens. And while the 40 indictments announced today are a huge step toward this goal, our commitment to helping our friends in this part of the state will continue long after today.”
Here's the full press release:
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And here's the defendant list:
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