LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Tuesday morning drug bust in Little Rock led to the arrest of nine people accused of being involved in a fentanyl trafficking ring.
Authorities said 40-year-old Andre Kimble and eight others were arrested Tuesday morning on charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl between June 2022 and March 2023. They were arraigned in federal court on Wednesday.
According to court officials, Kimble led a large-scale fentanyl trafficking organization that involved more than 100 pounds of fentanyl. The group allegedly sold fentanyl from various motels around Little Rock.
Prosecutors named nine people in the ring including Kimble, 64-year-old Jerry Wesley, 31-year-old Henry White, 43-year-old Eric James, 44-year-old Frankie Webb, 42-year-old Giovaughnie Criswell, 33-year-old Amethyst Schmeud, 33-year-old Shelton Graham and 40-year-old Billy Joe Cooksey.
A tenth unnamed defendant remains at large.
According to the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, law enforcement officers seized eight firearms and more than $20,000 dollars throughout the investigation.
In addition to drug conspiracy charges, court officials said some defendants are also facing charges for possession of a firearm by a felon, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and money laundering.
Several of the defendants charged have multiple prior felony convictions and, if they are convicted, will face enhanced penalties for drug trafficking and possessing firearms.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that the bust was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation, which involves multiple agencies and is focused on identifying, disrupting, and dismantling the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States.