NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - Operation Chopping Cherry Tree helped lead state and federal agencies to the arrest of 23 in a cocaine distribution ring bust that spanned from Arkansas to Texas.
The operation started in 2012 and continued until March of 2014. Dozens of officers worked the cases, with several wire taps. Undercover officers bought cocaine and hours of surveillance was done. The focus was cleaning up the streets.
"Yeah its a good day for us," said Mike Davis, North Little Rock Police Chief.
"We made an impact not only here in North Little Rock, but we made an impact all across the state," said Chief Davis.
Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mike Davis added, "We are sending a message to the individuals who are trafficking drugs in the state of Arkansas and that it will not be tolerated."
23 people were arrested, and authorities said they were not small-time dealers, these were distributors.
"The vast majority of these individuals have made dealing drugs a lifelong career. They are not simply addicts who need help, they are the worst of the worst," said Christopher Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, this drug ring ran from McAllen Texas to Saline County Arkansas. Up to 10 kilograms of cocaine were delivered every week. The office said the drugs were cut down to crack in Pulaski County in the Vestal Park area of North Little Rock.
"We are losing more and more children all the time to this," said a resident.
"Anything that gets the message across to the kids, this is not the easy road that they try to make you think it is, this is not the way to wealth, this is the way to heartbreak, jail, losing everything that you've worked for."