IZARD COUNTY. Ark. – Officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Izard County deputies arrested seven men in connection to a deadly overdose earlier this year.
According to the Izard County Sheriff’s Office, authorities arrested 64-year-old Michael David Mullins Sr. of Highland, 64-year-old Ricky Joe Cluck of Hardy, 56-year-old Jamey D. Roof of Mountain Homes, 42-year-old Andrew Mark Martin of Couch, Mo., 39-year-old Samuel R. Noakes of Myrtle, Mo., and 32-year-old Michael Joseph Kelly of Horseshoe Bend.
Izard County Chief Deputy Charley Melton said the federal indictments resulted from the Opioid Abuse Program Grant that deputies obtained earlier this year that funded two additional investigators.
“We have always known that opioid use is a problem in our communities. The COAP 2 Grant has provided us with additional manpower to focus on this problem. Today, we have seen the results of that, and major drug dealers are off the street,” Melton said.
Melton said after deputies received the funding for the investigation, authorities were able to receive information that led to the additional arrests.
“They started putting together a case file that tied Mullins Sr., directly to the deceased and as a result additional information led them to others who were possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute,” he said.
Melton also said that this is the first time that deputies were able to directly link a dealer to the death of another person.
Izard County deputies said after they realized that the investigation was going to lead outside their jurisdiction, they asked the DEA to assist.
After months of investigations by Izard County Opioid Investigators, deputies said they were able to connect the individuals directly or indirectly to each other.
All seven individuals face Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Deliver Fentanyl, but deputies said Mullins Sr., will face an additional charge of distribution resulting in death.
Officers from Izard County, Sharp County, Fulton County, Independence County, the Special Resource Team, Arkansas Department of Correction, the 16th Drug Task Force and the DEA participated in the arrests.