Federal officials are calling the round-up "Operation Great Scott."
The suspects include 17 who've been indicted in Federal Court and 3 more who've been charged in Scott County Circuit Court.
The investigation has resulted in the seizure of more than 11 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 70 pounds of marijuana, 28 firearms, two bullet-proof vests, and over $50,000 in United States currency from members of the organization, federal officials said.
Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Bill Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Tom Tatum, Prosecuting Attorney for the Fifteenth Judicial District, announced the arrests.
"With this case, another drug trafficking organization in Western Arkansas is now out of business. That is good news for Waldron and the surrounding area. This case was the result of local, state, and federal law enforcement working together, and I thank them for that hard work. Drug trafficking organizations take a toll on our communities. We will continue to find them and prosecute them," Eldridge said.
"The DEA along with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are committed to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations distributing methamphetamine in our communities," Bryant said.
"We are pleased with the great work of local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecutors. This case has involved a great deal of time and effort, and it truly makes a difference for people in our district," said Tatum.
According to documents filed in court and information discussed in court, the investigation included more than 40 controlled buys of meth from members of the organization. In several cases, individuals under age 18 were used to distribute drugs. During the case, one of the members of the organization, Miguel Paramo, was placed under surveillance as he left Waldron and drove to Irving, Texas, to pick up a large amount of meth. After Paramo was stopped in Dallas, due to his involvement in a minor traffic accident, officers arrested him on misdemeanor charges. A search of his truck revealed about 4 pounds of meth, which Paramo had intended to take back to Waldron and distribute to other members of the organization.
Also during the case, agents from the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security executed a search warrant of a "stash" house used by the organization and a residence owned by another member of the organization, Lee Roy Garcia, of Waldron. During these searches, agents recovered approximately 6 additional pounds of meth and 8 firearms.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute meth is life in prison.
Operation Great Scott is a joint operation between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Arkansas State Police, the Fort Smith Police Department, the Scott County Sheriff's Office, and other local agencies.