Two major drug trafficking and illegal immigration rings were busted Thursday. The investigation into these rings was a joint operation by federal and local authorities dubbed Operation Pied Piper
and Operation Ice Princess
The investigations were centered on two separate operations in Conway, AR and Jonesboro, AR. In total, 40 people were arrested, many of whom had previous felony convictions and were in the country illegally.
"We had prior deports who were arrested," said Vernon Francis with Homeland Security Investigations. "That is a major priority for us."
Law enforcement officers confiscated more than 13 pounds of meth through both investigations, totaling a street value of $560,000. Investigators also found $173,000 in cash hidden inside shoes and under floorboards. 20 firearms were siezed which included assault rifles and a sawed-off shotgun.
The investigations are still ongoing but all agencies involves are encouraged by the recent arrests.
"We couldn't have done it without everyone's help," said U.S. Attorney Jane Duke.
Everyone involved in the investigations believe these high-profile busts will send a message to others involved in drug trafficking and illegal immigration.Operation Pied Piper
began in February of 2010 and was focused on the drug distribution activities of Marcelino Ahumada-Vargas who was based in Conway.Operation Ice Princes
began in April of 2009 when Luis Jasso-Arciniega and Martin Acuna Escobar were arrested for drug trafficking. While in jail, the two men continued to run their multi-state drug trafficking cell based in Jonesboro.