LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Fifteen defendants are in custody after a DEA operation led to several arrests this morning as part of a federal drug investigation.
Operation Mad Hatter has resulted in the identification of several drug traffickers and the seizure of large quantities of cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and heroin.
Operation Mad Hatter, run by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, is an ongoing DEA Domestic Cartel Initiative investigation. Today’s arrests follow the unsealing of an indictment of 19 individuals who were charged by a federal grand jury on August 7, 2019. Of those, 15 are now in custody, and law enforcement has made contact with the remaining four defendants. In February 2019, DEA made the first arrests related to Operation Mad Hatter, and today’s arrests stem from activity uncovered during the ongoing investigation. Ten defendants had been arrested throughout the investigation, and the remaining five were arrested this morning, completing this phase of the operation.
During the course of Operation Mad Hatter, investigators have seized 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, 4 kilograms of cocaine, 249 grams of crack cocaine, over 1 kilogram of heroin, over 200 diverted prescription pills, over $107,000 in assets, and numerous firearms.
“The charges in Operation Mad Hatter are an example of the continued pressure we will apply to drug trafficking organizations,” stated Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Protecting our citizens from the violence that surrounds drug trafficking is a top priority for our office, and we appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement partners who were instrumental in carrying out this investigation.”
“These indictments and arrests should serve as a warning and send a clear message—we will relentlessly pursue these violent criminals and drug traffickers plaguing our communities and bring them to justice,” DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King said. “These individuals were responsible for infesting our communities with more than drugs—they threatened our citizens with guns and violence. The DEA stands here today with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, confident that we have dismantled this violent drug trafficking organization and have made the streets in these communities safer.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service works tirelessly to stop drug trafficking organizations from using the U.S. Mail to transport drugs into our communities,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Mona Hernandez. “Dismantling this organization helps us protect our employees and our customers from the violence related to drug trafficking and is just one example of the great work we can accomplish when we combine forces with our federal, state, and local partners.”
Operation Mad Hatter is a joint investigation between the DEA Little Rock District Office, United States Postal Inspection Service, Pine Bluff Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Community Corrections, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, Benton Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, and the Arkansas National Guard Counterdrug Program.