LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Fifteen federal defendants are in custody after federal and state authorities made numerous arrests as part of an ongoing investigation. Operation Quack Attack has resulted in the identification of multiple drug traffickers and the seizure of large quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the Chicot County area.
Operation Quack Attack, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, is being conducted by the FBI and the Arkansas State Police. In 2016, authorities began a joint investigation after an increase in violence related to drug trafficking in the Chicot County area. Today’s arrests are announced by Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, and Arkansas State Police Colonel Bill Bryant, in conjunction with the unsealing of the indictments of 15 defendants who were charged by a federal grand jury on September 5, 2019. In addition to the FBI and Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Community Correction Special Response Team provided assistance throughout the investigation. Assistance with today’s operation was also provided by the Lake Village Police Department and the Chicot County Sheriff’s Office.
Seven indictments charging 15 individuals in the Eastern District of Arkansas, along with a federal complaint charging one defendant in the Western District of Arkansas, were unsealed on Tuesday. Law enforcement officers arrested 11 defendants early Tuesday morning, while four defendants were already in federal or state custody on unrelated charges. Davidlon Palmer, 40, of Eudora, is the lone federal defendant in the investigation who remains a fugitive. Five defendants have pending state arrest warrants as part of the operation.
Individuals involved in this case have numerous violent prior criminal convictions, including state and federal drug trafficking offenses, aggravated assault, terroristic act, residential burglary, commercial burglary, murder 2nd degree, possession of firearms by certain persons, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
“Today’s arrests signify our commitment to stopping the violence that goes hand-in-hand with drug trafficking,” U.S. Attorney Hiland said. “We appreciate the collaboration between the federal and state partners that made this investigation possible.”
During the course of Operation Quack Attack, investigators conducted 58 controlled purchases of drugs and executed two search warrants. Authorities have seized more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 229 grams of cocaine, 200 grams of crack cocaine, 128 grams of marijuana, and 6 firearms, as well as almost $17,000 in cash.
During arrest operations Tuesday morning six additional firearms, including two AR-style rifles and a “street sweeper” shotgun with a multi-shell drum attached, were recovered, as well as another $3,927 in suspected drug proceeds.
“Prolonged investigations such as Operation Quack Attack serve to highlight the positive and enduring working relationships amongst members of Arkansas law enforcement and protect our communities from violent drug traffickers,” SAC Upchurch said. “It is with sincere appreciation that I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Arkansas State Police, and Arkansas Community Correction for their assistance with this investigation.”
The defendants face various drug trafficking and gun charges. The most serious drug charges carry a penalty range of not less than 10 years in prison, and not more than life, a fine of up to $10,000,000, and not less than five years of supervised release.
The federal defendants arrested Tuesday will be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe on Thursday. The federal defendants in state custody will be arraigned at a later date.
Operation Quack Attack is a joint investigation between the FBI, the Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Community Correction Special Response Team. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Peters is prosecuting the case. An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.