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Authorities on Thursday said a mass shooting at a Little Rock nightclub was precipitated by a rivalry between two gangs — one of which has ties to family members of former Razorback and NFL player Darren McFadden.

Officials also announced that 49 people would be charged with dozens of federal "gun and drug-trafficking crimes," the effort of a joint task force created after the shooting, which took place at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock in July.

Cody Hiland, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, reported that 250 agents and officers were involved in an operation that arrested 21 people Thursday morning.

A statement from his office says Bilal Johns Muhammad, the half-brother of McFadden, is a longtime leader in the Real Hustlers Incorporated, one of the rival gangs. That group was formerly known as the Monroe Street Hustlers, authorities said. The other gang was identified as the Wolfe Street Crips.

Two of Muhammad's sons, identified as Bilal Sean Muhammad and Kain Jordan, have also been indicted in the case, according to the office.

[DOCUMENT: Defendant list, arrest summary, charges filed]

Nine people charged in the operation remain fugitives, authorities said. Multiple members of Little Rock's two dominant gangs — the Bloods and the Crips — were arrested Thursday morning, a news release states. Agents also reportedly seized body armor, 21 illegally possessed guns, 9.6 pounds of cocaine, 4 ounces of methamphetamine, 7.2 ounces of cocaine and other drugs as well as about $50,000 in drug proceeds.

The investigation also identified Robert Turpin III as the leader of a drug trafficking organization involving a total of 18 defendants. Turpin was found to be importing pharmaceutical drugs from India for illicit distribution, authorities said.

Chris Alexander, a member of the Wolfe Street Crips and a community activist who has promoted anti-gang and violence programs in Little Rock in the past, was also arrested Thursday on drug and firearm charges.

State government officials applauded Hiland's effort to prosecute more violent crime, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, at whose request GET Rock — a gang enforcement task force that worked in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency on the operation — was formed.

"With these arrests and indictments, we are serving notice that Arkansas will not tolerate the reign of terror by those who traffic in illegal drugs, illegal guns and rule by intimidation," Hutchinson said.

Also on Thursday, Hiland announced an initiative that will enlist the help of attorneys working for various state offices to federally prosecute more gun and drug crimes. These attorneys will be called special assistant United States attorneys and are expected to begin prosecuting federal cases in the coming weeks.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge praised the decision.

"No Arkansan should live in fear and I am confident that prosecuting and removing dangerous criminals from our streets will make our neighborhoods safer," Rutledge said.

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

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  • titleist10
    February 22, 2018 at 1:24 p.m.

    Better be careful-if you target a particular race they may burn down the city

  • MaxCady
    February 22, 2018 at 3:10 p.m.

    Why has it taken 7-8 months to do this?? Those thugs have been on the loose since then!!

  • obbie
    February 22, 2018 at 5:20 p.m.

    Justice delayed is justice denied. They need all the justice they're entitled to...and soon.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 22, 2018 at 5:38 p.m.

    You just can't make this up, ... "Chris Alexander, a member of the Wolfe Street Crips and a community activist who has promoted anti-gang and violence programs in Little Rock in the past, was also arrested Thursday on drug and firearm charges."

  • ZeebronZ
    February 22, 2018 at 6:15 p.m.

    Yeah..what DontDrinkDatKoolaide said.

  • RaylanGivens
    February 22, 2018 at 6:51 p.m.

    Good to hear from you again DDDKA

  • Murphy01
    February 22, 2018 at 7 p.m.

    Why does this paper continually bring up the fact that some of these thugs are McFadden's family? I can't see that it has anything to do with the story itself, just appears that you're trying to grab headlines at the expense of an innocent bystander.
    Congrats to the Governor on down to local LEO's, I'm sure a case like this took considerable man hours to put together.
    I would think a case like this can make a difference on the streets if they can get some convictions.

  • GeneralMac
    February 22, 2018 at 7:13 p.m.

    and to think some clueless people had to ask "why" when Little Rock Police Chief applied for the opening in Charleston SC.

    Smaller city, waaaaay less crime, higher wage $$$$$.

    Little Rock or Charleston ?

    Easy choice !

  • Delta2
    February 22, 2018 at 7:32 p.m.

    Murphy, it's a conspiracy thang. The Demozette, being a LR publication, has to find some reason to tie in UAF (and thusly NW AR) into the dark underbelly of LR. You know, it's that Arkansas unity thing, the small minded idea that we all have to own the Hogs.

  • BKindOnline
    February 22, 2018 at 7:48 p.m.

    Leslie Rutledge- You say no Arkansan should live in fear? Actually people aren’t living in fear in LR because they are moving out of town! Having this kind of crime going on keeps people from moving here at all. LR has a BAD reputation around the country. “We’re number 1” in this case is disgraceful.

    P.S. We’ll be watching your prosecuting on these. A slap on the wrist sentence is going to have a LOT of backlash from law-abiding citizens.

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