LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Almost 50 people have been indicted on gang- and drug-related charges in a crackdown on gun violence in Arkansas’ capital city, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.
U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland said more than 250 federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested 21 people in early-morning raids Thursday and another 14 were taken into custody last week. Five defendants are in state custody and nine are fugitives.
Hiland said the defendants are named in 13 grand jury indictments and two complaints accusing them of drug trafficking and gun crimes. Authorities said some gangs were involved in a July shooting at a Little Rock nightspot that injured 28 people.
Speaking at a news conference where the indictments were announced, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said the drug trade drives crime and violence in the city and that the arrests are “putting a huge dent in those operations.”
Twenty-five people were hurt by gunfire and three more suffered other injuries while trying to escape the Power Ultra Lounge as Ricky Hampton of Memphis, Tennessee, who raps under the name “Finese2Tymes,” performed at the Little Rock club on July 1.
After the shooting, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson formed a task force of local, state and federal agencies, saying a “looming cloud of violence” would harm the entire state, not just Little Rock.
In a new release, Hutchinson said the success of Thursday’s operation “demonstrates what cooperation, intelligence information and courageous law enforcement work can do to make our streets safer.”