RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Nine white supremacists have been arrested along with 35 other people in a major operation to disrupt gun and drug crimes in both Pope and Yell counties.
The "To The Dirt" investigation was named after a New Aryan Empire (NAE) slogan, which authorities say is in reference that members of the white supremacy group must remain in the group "until they die." It was spearheaded by Cody Hiland, newly appointed as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The arrests began Wednesday morning where law enforcement officials seized 46 guns, bringing the total numbers of seized firearms to 69 in total. Among the 69 guns seized, police found handguns, rifles, shotguns, and "assault-style rifles."
Eight of the white supremacists belonged to the NAE group while the ninth arrested belonged to the White Aryan Resistance (WAR).
The investigation began in early 2016 when local police noticed various crimes being committed by NAE members.
"It soon became apparent that the methamphetamine trafficking in the area went far beyond only NAE members," the announcement said.
During the investigation, police made 59 controlled purchases of meth, seizing more than 25 pounds of the illegal drug. They also seized more than $70,000 in drug money.
"Targeting violent, armed drug dealers will be a priority for my office, as well as for all law enforcement agencies in central Arkansas," Hiland said.
Though police arrested 44 people Wednesday morning, 11 federal fugitives and 12 state fugitives remain at large. In total, 200 law enforcement officers assisted in arresting people in the early morning raid.
The "To the Dirt" federal fugitive list includes:
- Troy R. Loadholt, aka 'Tricky', 36, Russellville
- April M. Teeter, aka 'April Crain', 37, Russellville
- Brittany Fergusan, aka 'Brittany Gideon', 26, Russellville
- Ralph A. Ross, aka 'R.A.', 53, Atkins,
- Britanny S. Conner, 32, San Pedro, California
- Kathrine R. Ross, aka 'Katie', 26, Russellville
- Christopher S. Helms, 34, Dardanelle
- Paula S. Enos, 44, Russellville
- Wesley W. Pierson, 53, Charleston
- James Nicholas George, aka 'Nick', 37, Dardanelle
- Keith C. Savage, aka 'K.C.', 36, Belleville