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16 arrests in Columbia Co. meth investigation

By Mike McNeill,, 03/22/13 10:59 AM

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announces arrests as the result of Operation Crystal Clear, a multi-state drug investigating centering on meth trafficking in the Waldo area, during a news conference on Thursday afternoon at the Columbia County Courthouse. – photo by Mike McNeill

Local and federal authorities swept through Columbia County and other areas early Thursday, serving state and federal warrants to melt a crystal methamphetamine trafficking ring.

Conner Eldridge, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced the indictments against 24 people in Waldo, Magnolia, and Texarkana, and De Soto and Dallas, Texas, during a press conference at the Columbia County Courthouse.

Lawmen seized about $150,000 in cash, five firearms and several vehicles as a result of the year-long investigation. Some of the cash was seized as a result of traffic stops, including a $57,000 seizure from one suspect driving through Lewisville.

Magnolia, Columbia County and Arkansas State Police made 10 arrests Thursday, and federal authorities made six other arrests in Arkansas and Texas. Four state and four federal suspects remain at large.

Eldridge and David Butler, deputy prosecuting attorney in Columbia County for Arkansas’ 13th Judicial District, said they hoped the arrests will have an impact on drug trafficking in South Arkansas.

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