EL DORADO -- Sixty-one south Arkansas residents were arrested this week on various drug-related charges, the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force announced on Tuesday.
According to a news release, the task force, working with the Union, Ouachita, Dallas, Columbia, and Calhoun counties' sheriff's offices; the El Dorado, Smackover, Magnolia, Camden, Bearden, Fordyce and Hampton police departments; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, made the arrests between Jan. 23 and Monday.
Officer Jonathan Messer, director of the task force, said the agencies' investigation started in November.
"The last three days of it was kind of the takedown part of it, if you will. It actually started Nov. 1. We just basically built cases, bought drugs," Messer said, referring to undercover drug purchases. "Some of this stuff came from traffic stops."
Starting on Jan. 23, according to the release, the law enforcement agencies involved in the drug investigation executed multiple search and arrest warrants across the district.
In the searches, police seized more than 35 ounces of methamphetamine; more than 7 ounces of crack cocaine; more than 2 ounces of powder cocaine; about 92 ounces of marijuana; 829 assorted pills; $28,342.65 in cash; one vehicle; and 52 firearms.
Messer said those arrested face charges ranging from delivery and possession of narcotics and possession with intent to deliver to maintaining a drug premises, possession of drug paraphernalia and simultaneous possession of narcotics and firearms.
"Majority of them were felonies, that's safe to say," Messer said.
The operation over the last week follows another recent drug bust carried out by the task force in conjunction with the El Dorado Police Department and Union County sheriff's office.
On Jan. 3, six people were arrested on drug charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony after police raided three homes in the city. Messer said those arrests were included in the count of this operation.
Messer said it's important for the community to see law enforcement agencies across the district working together, noting that crime often crosses county lines.