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Drug Ring Leaders & Dealers Busted

Sixty-five suspected drug dealers are off central Arkansas streets. Half of them were in the country illegally.
Sixty-five suspected drug dealers are off Central Arkansas streets. Half of them were in the country illegally. Thursday, federal drug agents announced a major meth lab bust in Batesville. It took almost 3 years to catch the suspected ring leaders and their counterparts.

In 2005, when the Arkansas legislature banned the sell of ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, meth dealers fought back, illegally brewing up meth ice in Mexico and trafficking it into central Arkansas. It triggered a federal probe into these smugglers and their $100,000 operation.

Agents say husband and wife team Ocatavio and Argelia Hererra masterminded the group.

"This is the largest seizure I've ever seen," says William Bryant with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Representatives from law enforcement agencies across central Arkansas united to celebrate getting the suspected drug dealers off the streets.

Agents say they used creative methods to store their drugs, like trucks painted to look like company vehicles. They also used everyday cars with meth stored in hidden compartments. You'd need high-tech equipment just to find it.

“For instance, one of you might have to have the AC switch on high and the cruise control on and [the meth] would be in a hydraulic trap and it would open up, otherwise you'd never find it. We're fortunate to have the state police, they're experts in doing that for us,” Bryant said.

The investigation launched in August of 2005 with dozens of arrests and over $100,000 in drug money seized through last month from a big-time operation based in Batesville.

“Don't ever think that nothing's being done in your community with the drug problem. Although you might not see it happening, but it's happening," said Independence County Sheriff Keith Bowers.

To put into perspective how major this is. The average street rate for one gram of meth ice is about $244. In this bust, agents seized over 100 pounds of meth ice, which is equal to 11 million dollars in drug money.
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