After a two-year investigation, over 150 law enforcement officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local police rounded up 125 individuals in a two-state guns and drugs sting operation.
The suspects from southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas were arrested beginning Wednesday morning in what authorities called “Operation H.I.T.S.” (High Intensity Trafficking Suppression).
Officials say the campaign was conducted to end the high level of gun violence and the trafficking of weapons and illegal narcotics in the area. Over 240 undercover operations were conducted as part of the investigation.
“Law enforcement is here, and we are working everyday to try to rid the community of the scourge of illegal drugs, and certainly the added problem of guns along with those drugs and violence that comes with guns and drugs,” US Attorney Chris Thyer toldWHBQ FOx 5.
Officials confiscated 108 guns, 3 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of crack cocaine, 26 pounds of marijuana, and various pills.
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The suspects range in age from 19 to 69. Some will be brought up on federal charges while others will face state charges.
71 defendants will face state charges in Missouri. The US Attorney’s office in Missouri will prosecute 22 cases. 14 will be charged in the state of Arkansas while 19 face federal prosecution in the Eastern District of Arkansas. One suspect will be prosecuted in two jurisdictions.
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To view some of the mug shots from Operation HITS visit arkansasonline.