5-month-long methamphetamine sting nets 25 area arrests
EUREKA SPRINGS -- The Eureka Springs Police Department, in cooperation with Berryville and Missouri authorities, has carried out a massive methamphetamine sting, according to a press release from the department.
In October 2012, Detective Thomas Achord arrested an individual who agreed to turn informant for the ESPD and help them purchase illicit drugs in exchange for leniency in his burglary charge, according to police.
That arrest turned into a five-month-long narcotics investigation that has resulted in 25 arrests and charges of selling, manufacturing, and possessing with intent to manufacture dangerous illicit drugs, mainly methamphetamine, authorities said.
After securing the blessing of Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers, ES Detectives Brad Handley and Achord started buying drugs.
As drugs were purchased, suspects were positively identified and arrested. Those who were arrested were given the opportunity to purchase drugs from their suppliers as informants.
As the investigation progressed, more suspects were identified and became cooperative informants for the police, ESPD explained.
Methamphetamine dealers who were known to deliver in the Eureka area were identified in Berryville, Holiday Island and rural western Carroll county as well as Barry and Taney counties in Missouri.
That information was shared with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, the Taney County Drug Task Force and the Barry County Sheriff's Office, ESPD said. Arrests have been made in western Carroll county, Holiday Island and Missouri, and more are expected.
Eureka Springs detectives were also able to identify suspects who were selling methamphetamine in Berryville, so they contacted Detective Robert Bartos of the Berryville Police Department.
Bartos, Achord and Handley worked together and purchased methamphetamine from four different individuals who have since been arrested, police said.
The investigation also turned up a laboratory being used to make synthetic marijuana, which is illegal in Arkansas.
On March 26, Officer Brian Young, along with Achord and Handley, raided the 1876 Motel with a warrant and arrested Jason Nation. The officers observed what was determined to be a package of K2 and a K2 lab.
K2 incense is a form of synthetic marijuana, legal until last year but rapidly becoming illegal across the U.S.
This is the first K2 lab discovered and seized in the state of Arkansas, police said. The chemicals and other materials have been submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for analysis.
Nation has been charged with harassment over a failed drug deal. Charges of manufacturing K2 are pending results from the crime lab.
Street value for all of the methamphetamine recovered is $58,000. Street value of the K2 recovered is over $5,800.
Also seized as a result of the arrest were two vehicles, a 2004 Toyota MTX and a 2003 Volkswagen, both belonging to alleged methamphetamine supplier Pedro Munoz-Casillo of Harrison, police said.
Cash in the amount of $3,718 was seized from Melia McEnaney of Harrison, and an additional $198 was seized from Casillo.
On Tuesday, Western District Judge Tim Parker set bond on Casillo at $1,000,000 and Dorothy Keys of Green Forest at $500,000.
Other persons arrested are:
* Cody Middleton of Eureka Springs
* Jason Helm of Berryville
* Phillip Thornton of Eureka Springs
* Anthony Lillig of Eureka Springs
* Jordan Anderson of Eureka Springs
* Jason Edmonson of Eureka Springs arrested twice
* Britney Collette of Eureka Springs arrested twice
* Jason Still of Eureka Springs arrested twice
* Jackie Aday of Eureka Springs
* Melia McEnaney of Harrison
* Pedro Munoz-Casillo of Harrison
* Dorothy Keys of Green Forest
* Christy Strickland of Eureka Springs arrested twice
* Richard Decker of Eagle Rock
* Suzie Scarrow of Eureka Springs
* Spencer Martin of Eureka Springs
There are three more suspects in Missouri who have not been arrested yet, police said.
Eureka Springs Police Chief Earl Hyatt had this to say about the operation:
"We do not want illegal harsh drugs in this town, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure they stay out. Period."