A 69-year-old Newport man has been arrested after, police say, 81 firearms and more than 19,000 ammunition rounds were found in his home, the Jackson County sheriff's office said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
County Sheriff David Lucas told Arkansas Online that Donald Boyster — who turned himself in to deputies Wednesday — has been charged with 81 counts of possession of firearms by certain persons, three counts of criminal use of a prohibited weapon and one count of possession of a defaced firearm.
Boyster's wife gave authorities consent to search her and her husband's residence at 2700 Mimosa Drive, Lucas said. Along with the 81 firearms and 19,000 ammunition rounds authorities seized on Jan. 14, 199 semi-automatic firearm ammunition magazines, a large stock of firearm parts and accessories, materials for manufacturing firearm silencers and a "suspected stolen" four-wheeler were also found at the residence.
"I'm glad that we were able to initiate this investigation," Lucas said in a statement. "It has led to the seizure of a very large cache of weapons and ammunition that will not end up on the streets of Newport and Jackson County."
Lucas said that "based on some of the information we were getting," Boyster had intended to sell the guns.
Boyster has a previous criminal history, Lucas said. He was convicted in 1986 in a Little Rock federal court for conspiracy to import marijuana, for which he received a two-year jail sentence.
Investigators with the Jackson County sheriff's office had received tips over the course of several months about an "illegal weapons operation" at a Newport residence, authorities said. Lucas said investigators had been receiving information through "some of their informants and through [their] jailhouse informants."
Boyster is scheduled to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court on Feb. 4, and his bond has been set at $10,000.
An investigation is ongoing and the sheriff's office expects that "other arrests may be made."