U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland announced today that 49 people had been charged in indictments of three drug rings for distribution of fentanyl and heroin, including charges that the illegal drug sales led to two overdose deaths.

Hiland said officers had seized 1,600 grams of fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller, enough for 25,000 doses.

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He promised more arrests. “We wanted to let you know we are serious about stopping this to the extent that we can,” he said at a news conference.

More details from a prepared release about three indictments filed earlier this month, including this:

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Today’s arrests are the result of an investigation into a fentanyl drug trafficking organization that has already been linked to two overdose deaths. In June 2018, FBI began investigating the drug trafficking activities of Clifton Williams and his associates. After conducting two controlled purchases of fentanyl from Williams, agents applied for and received a wiretap for his phone. Agents intercepted hundreds of calls and text messages between Williams and other distributors of fentanyl and heroin in the central Arkansas area.

 

Williams and his co-conspirators operated largely out of West Little Rock, where they conducted drug transactions at prominent retail locations. On August 30, 2018, a woman overdosed on fentanyl supplied by Williams and was found dead at a motel in West Little Rock. On October 18, 2018, an individual died of “fentanyl intoxication” after taking fentanyl Williams had supplied. That same day, Williams was arrested and found to be in possession of over $25,000 cash, a stolen firearm, two ounces of fentanyl, and other contraband.

 

Williams and twenty-two others are charged in the indictment. In addition to the 15 arrested this morning, two were already in custody.

Another indictment targeted the Desmond Kelley organization. It names 17 people on 37 charges. Kelley, 26, of Little Rock, was indicted again while on pre-trial release on federal heroin charges. A release said a wiretap produced intercepts of hundreds of calls from Darrell Walls, one of Kelley’s main distributors. Agents made 23 controlled purchases and in arrests seized heroin, methamphetamine, firearms and cash.

A third indictment targed Monterrio Fuller’s organization — nine people charged with 21 counts. Again wiretaps and controlled buys of fentanyl and heroid led to the charges. In this case, agents sized fentanyl, heroin, marijuana and MDMA along with cash, three AR-15s and assets including cars and jewelry.

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