A routine traffic stop Sept. 26 in the rural Fulton County town of Mitchell turned into the most significant drug bust this year by the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, according to Task Force Chief Scott Russell.
Newton "Bubba" Willingham, 31, and Rhonda Due, 39, both of Oxford, were arrested after officers from the Arkansas State Police and Drug Task Force found methamphetamine, 220 pseudoephedrine pills and other drug paraphernalia in Willingham's Chevrolet Camero.
Russell said a "large amount" of U.S. currency was retrieved from the vehicle. He said arresting Willingham is a highlight in the DTF's fight against illegal drug activity.
"Without a doubt, Willingham is the largest meth dealer in North Arkansas and maybe southern Missouri as well," said Russell.
Bond for Willingham and Due has been set at $1 million apiece. The two have been charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, conspiracy to manufacture with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Willingham is being held in the Fulton County jail and Due is being held in the Izard County jail.
Russell said the DTF has been monitoring Willingham and Due since January. He said the two will face additional charges from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock.
Over the last two years, Willingham went from a small-time drug dealer to the biggest operator in the area, Russell said.
He said the methamphetamine found in the car, approximately half an ounce, was individually packaged for re-sale.
Willingham and Due face additional methamphetamine manufacture charges in Howell County, Mo. Due is also on probation from a felony fleeing conviction from a drug bust in 2003.
A third person in the car, Rebecca Worsham, was questioned and released. Worsham has been charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Russell said the Task Force expects additional arrests in connection with this case.