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Major cocaine bust in Hempstead County

By Kevin McKinnon, 07/2/12 12:45 PM

Saturnino Rios Banvelas

A multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of a suspected major drug dealer in Hempstead County last week.

Saturnino Rios Banvelas, 41, of Houston, Texas, was arrested at the 22 mile marker of I-30 on Thursday, June 28 after police found approximately six kilograms of cocaine in a hidden compartment near his 2010 Nissan’s fuel tank. The street value of the drug is approximately $150,000.

The arrest was the result an operation that began earlier in the week conducted by the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office, South Central Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Highway Police, Drug Enforcement Agents, Arkansas National Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, and Homeland Security.

Banvelas was charged with possession with purpose to deliver and booked into the Hempstead County Detention Center. Hempstead County deputies transported Banvelas to the federal courthouse in Texarkana Monday to face federal drug charges.