Three federal investigations focused on the drug and firearm pipeline in Arkansas came to a head on Wednesday morning when 80 indictments were unsealed and 45 arrests were made, which included the rapper Bankroll Freddie, whose real name is Freddie Gladney III.
The 80 individuals sought were charged with various federal firearms and drug trafficking charges.
Two of the three investigations were conducted by the FBI and focused on rival gangs.
One FBI investigation focused on the Every Body Killas, or EBK gang, which resulted in 35 indictments, and the other focused on the Loady Murder Mobb Gang, which resulted in 26 indictments.
Three other defendants were charged in stand-alone indictments, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District Arkansas.
The third investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, which began in August 2021 after the agency and North Little Rock Police Department identified street-level methamphetamine and fentanyl dealers in central Arkansas, who were connected to the same source of supply as the rival gangs.
The DEA’s investigation found drugs were mailed from California into Arkansas in shipments that included kilogram-quantities of methamphetamine and thousands of pressed fentanyl pills, according to the press release. The drugs were then distributed to individuals in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as well as Houston, Texas.
Eighteen individuals were indicted because of the DEA’s investigation.
Gladney was listed as a defendant in the indictment that was a result of the FBI focusing on the EBK gang, as was his father Freddie Gladney, Jr.
According to the indictment, Freddie Gladney III and the 34 other individuals allegedly knowingly and intentionally distributed and possessed cocaine, crack-cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.
Gladney and his father were indicted for possessing between 500 grams and 5 kilograms of cocaine, between 28 and 280 grams of crack-cocaine, and between 100 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, the indictment noted.
The formal accusation accuses Gladney of selling marijuana, possessing several firearms including 9mm handguns, an AM15 multi-caliber rifle, 5.56 NATO caliber rifle and SKS rifle.
He is also accused in the indictment of acquiring these types of guns from a licensed firearms dealer and making false statements during the purchases, possessing one or more machine guns and possessing several guns without serial numbers, among other things.
The investigations into the rival gangs and their involvement in the drug and firearms pipeline in Arkansas gained momentum in October 2020 after Pine Bluff Police Detective Kevin Collins was shot and killed while serving an arrest warrant on an EBK member wanted for homicide in Georgia.
The press release said Collins was assisting the FBI with intelligence pertaining to the criminal activity of the gangs, as well as surveillance, interviews and arrests of those involved in criminal activity in Pine Bluff.
Between March 2021 and June 2022, the FBI utilized 12 wiretaps to get real-time information and intervene to prevent violence in Pine Bluff, Little Rock and other communities throughout the state.
“Law enforcement discovered that the gangs were funding their violent activity primarily through the sale of large quantities of high-grade marijuana,” the release read. “The investigation revealed drug trafficking and travel between Arkansas and Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oklahoma.”
Of the 80 defendants indicted on Wednesday, eight were in custody before the roundup began.
Authorities also seized four firearms including an AR-style pistol, 2 ounces of cocaine, 1 ounce of crack-cocaine and $30,000 on Wednesday morning.
Twenty-seven fugitives are still not in custody, as of Wednesday morning, and those who were arrested were scheduled to appear for arraignment by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe. J. Volpe later.
Agencies that assisted the FBI in executing their operations included the Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Pine Bluff Police Department and Jonesboro Police Department.
The DEA Little Rock Office was assisted by the DEA Riverside, California office, United States Postal Inspection Service, North Little Rock Police Department, Sherwood Police Department and Benton Police Department.