Twenty-four people have been charged in a federal investigation into gang violence and drug trafficking in Hot Springs, authorities announced Thursday.
Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said in a news release that the charges include distribution of methamphetamine and crack cocaine, possession of a firearm in drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A grand jury handed down 19 separate indictments in the case, which is called Operation Spa City Special.
“Hot Springs has been plagued by violence and drug trafficking," Eldridge said in a statement. "As a result of the diligence of this investigation, the dangerous illegal activity in Hot Springs has been disrupted, and we have taken a large step forward in making the community a safer place."
Authorities said efforts to arrest the 24 suspects were ongoing Thursday. It wasn't immediately known how many had been taken into custody.
Police said the investigation started in March 2012 and included more than 80 controlled buys of crack cocaine and methamphetamine, and the seizure of more than 500 grams of crack cocaine, seven vehicles, 17 firearms and $15,000 in cash.
All 24 suspects live in Hot Springs. The news release identified them as: James Barron, 38; Carlos Brewer, 35; Terry Conway, 51; James Dawson, 41; Allen Fair, 28; Chris Fugate, 22; Anthony Gillespie, 22; Shane Godbold, 32; Tyrong Godbold, 42; Roland Goss, 37; Michael Jordan, 30; Quinton Kingsby, 32; Courtney Lemons, 35; Paul Nutt, 22; Jared Pope, 37; John Potter, 32; Gregory Thompson, 29; Richard Stapleton, 37; Michael Walker, 48; Jamal Wiley, 31; Stedman Wiley, 25; Marchello Willis, 30; Labarrya Wimbley, 22; and Tommy Woodfork, 40.