Authorities on both the state and federal level, including here in Arkansas, are fond of conducting broad drug sweeps that show a crackdown on a large number of drug offenders. Often, however, those arrested are street junkies and drug addicts rather than those at the very top of the distribution chain. In addition, arrests of a large number of people on alleged drug crimes often leads to improper arrests that are not accurately documented or supported by sufficient evidence.
The latest publicized drug sweep occurred in Pine Bluff recently where 20 persons were named in arrest warrants on various drug charges involving cocaine and methamphetamine. The 18-month investigation and the raid is said to have been a cooperative effort by federal, state and local authorities. It was spearheaded by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
Reportedly, however, 13 of the suspects are at-large at this time. Authorities report that undercover agents made buys from some of those on the list. Some of the arrests may have been for possession alone. During the raids, authorities allege to have seized several pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine worth about $100,000.
Group arrests for drug crimes are used as a showpiece for heightened public relations activities by the arresting authorities and to show the coordinated efforts of law enforcement groups. However, there are no statistics supporting the proposition that raids like this have a permanent effect on reducing drug sales within any particular locality. When such arrests occur, each defendant will do best by obtaining separate and independent legal counsel to avoid conflicts in the defense of one's case. The defendant will benefit from the services of an experienced and seasoned Arkansas criminal defense attorney who will know the procedures and the participants on the prosecutorial side of the case.
Source: thv11.com, "Jefferson Co. undercover investigation leads to drug bust", Feb. 18, 2016