Friday, November 16, 2012

TOP STORY >> Drug ring busted after 17 arrests

A man from the Austin area and believed to be the head of a large-scale meth operation working between Texas and central Arkansas has been indicted on federal charges and arrested along with 16 others.

Tarik Bouhamidi, 46, formerly of Jacksonville, had been under investigation since July 2011 when he was arrested earlier this week.

Officials say he was buying meth from Johnny Ybarra of Dallas and that he used several hired couriers to bring the drugs to Arkansas for distribution.

Also indicted were Gary Wayne Alvey, 53, of Morrilton; Amy Beth Dodd, 31, of Little Rock; Randy Eakle, age unknown; Bryan Louis Embry, 49, Atkins; Fred W. Lauderdale, 46, Maumelle; Steven Lynn Goodman, 45, Beebe; Harold David (Doc) Holladay, 47, Little Rock; Terry Wayne Leggitt, 43, Houston, Texas; Sonia Kay Potter, 47, Jacksonville; Jeremy Gradden Putt, 42, Benton, and Joseph Paul Setvin Jr., 44, Jacksonville.

Also Scottie Edwin Sisney, 40, Atkins; Kaylea Lynn Sontag, 32, England; Lesia Carol Southerland, 47, Lonoke; Rodney Lynn Spradlin, 36, England; Stacye Rochelle Strickland, 42, Little Rock; Tammy Kasandra Lauderdale, 46, Maumelle; Christopher Eric Vires, 33, Lonoke; Larry Joe Williams, 62, Morrilton; Christopher Eric Vires, 33, Lonoke; Lesia Carol Southerland, 47, Lonoke, and Christopher Eric Vires, 33, Lonoke.

Three more arrests are expected.

The investigation ended with the Nov. 6 indictment of Bouhamidi, Ybarra and 19 others for various drug and weapons charges.

So far, search and seizure warrants have netted $66,000 in cash, other assets valued at about $10,000, two and one-half pounds of meth, nine vehicles (including two tractor-trailer rigs) and two firearms.

The investigation was carried out by an organized crime drug enforcement task force sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration with members from DEA and drug task force officers from Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Benton Police Department, Arkansas State Police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Also involved in the investigation were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Arkansas National Guard, the Little Rock Police Department, the Jacksonville Police Department, the Lonoke Sheriff’s Office and the Sherwood Police Department.