Breaking: Arkansas sheriff's deputy among 2 people killed in shooting, police say
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More than 25 pounds of methamphetamine, 69 firearms and more than $70,000 in drug proceeds were seized as the result of a two-year operation targeting drug trafficking in Arkansas, authorities said Wednesday.

Forty-four people, mostly Pope County residents, have been charged with multiple federal drug and gun crimes. Among them are nine people who are members of Arkansas white supremacist organizations, according to a news release from the office of the U.S. attorney for the state's Eastern District.

Law enforcement officials reportedly arrested 27 people early Wednesday and, including state charges, have obtained warrants for a total of 70 defendants.

Authorities said 23 of them, including 11 federal fugitives and 12 state fugitives, are still at large. Twenty people were already in custody, the release stated.

"Targeting violent, armed drug dealers will be a priority for my office, as well as for all law enforcement agencies in central Arkansas," U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland said.

Hiland began work in the post Tuesday afternoon, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

The operation reportedly began in early 2016. It was said to be a collaborative effort between the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Inspectors; Arkansas State Police; Arkansas Highway Police; the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force; Russellville Police Department and the Pope County sheriff's office.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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