Law enforcement officers raided three methamphetamine operations in Fulton County May 29 and 30, seizing drugs, firearms, vehicles, video equipment, electronic equipment and over $10,000. Officers arrested eight suspects in connection with the raids.
In a joint investigation by the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Arkansas State Police, South Central Drug Task Force, Fulton County Sheriff's Office, Gary Clayton of the Office of Community Punishment and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a large operation was seized at Affordable Auto Sales on Highway 63 in Mammoth Spring.
The investigation stemmed from the postal inspectors service tracking a large amount of ephedrine tablets through the mail. The shipment was delivered to Mammoth Spring and surveillance teams tracked the package of pills to Affordable Auto Sales.
Investigators entered the building at Affordable Auto Sales to recover the package and observed a methamphetamine lab in operation. The occupants were arrested and the building was secured while investigators obtained a search warrant.
Michael Malloy, 44, of Mammoth Spring, Larry R. Day, 48, of Mammoth Spring and Mathew Hayes, 32, of Missouri will be charged in Fulton County Circuit Court with one count each of manufacturing of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, marijuana; use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia; manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of minors, a 10-year enhancement; and manufacturing and distributing near certain facilities, namely a church, also a 10-year enhancement.
In addition, Day will be charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and Cynthia Branum, 35, of Hardy will be charged with the same offenses except the firearm charge.
The owner of the shop building, Darla Lambert, 37, arrived at the scene and officers were given consent by Lambert to search her residence located nearby.
During the search, officers recovered more methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia items. Lambert was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance methamphetamine with the intent to deliver.
During the raid agents discovered three grams of methamphetamine and 3 1/2 grams of cut. Cut is mixed to make more methamphetamine, according to Dale Weaver, administrator of the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Lambert was released after paying a $5,000 bond.
The following day law enforcement officers followed up on information of a possible methamphetamine lab on Fryatt Cemetery Road near Mammoth Spring.
During surveillance of the area, agents observed items that led to the issuance of a search warrant on the property of one of the suspect's family members, as well as a search of the residence of one of the suspects.
Officers searched the residence of William "Bill" McFadden, 34, of Hardy and discovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Charged as a result of the raid is McFadden, his spouse, Jennifer McFadden, 28, of Hardy and Shane Shipp, 32, of Mammoth Spring.
Jennifer McFadden and Shane Shipp will be charged in Fulton County with manufacturing of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine; and use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia.
William McFadden will be charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine; use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia and felony in possession of a firearm.
Bond of all the suspects except Lambert was set at $100,000.
Forensic chemist from the Arkansas State Crime Lab along with safety crews from Little Rock were called to assist in the dismantling and cleanup of the methamphetamine labs.
Information leading to the raids was provided by private citizens and officers from Arkansas and Missouri, said Scott Russell, chief investigator of the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Russell added that surveillance of the operations had been ongoing for some time and the operation was successful because of the cooperation among many agencies and law enforcement officers.
Russell said the additional enhancement charges filed on some of the suspects will result in an additional 10-year prison term if they are found guilty.
Additional arrests connected to the raids are expected in the near future. "It's definitely not over," Russell said.