REDFIELD — A two-year multi-agency methamphetamine investigation in Redfield resulted in 20 arrest warrants served Wednesday in what the police chief described as “round one of many rounds to come.”
“We are not going to tolerate drugs in Redfield,” Police Chief Steve McFatridge said. “We have patience. This has been a two-year investigation. We’ve been working on this and people didn’t even know it. And it is going to send a message.”
McFatridge said the warrants, all of which were served in and around the Redfield area, represented 37 undercover purchases by law enforcement made during the two years that involved more than 230 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of about $230,000.
Redfield police started the investigation, but they were joined by the Arkansas State Police, Pine Bluff Police Department and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which assisted with some of the larger undercover purchases. They were also assisted by the Arkansas Highway Police, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, National Guard and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, he said.
McFatridge said that he wants the effectiveness of law enforcement collaboration to be one of the main takeaway messages from the drug bust.
“These people all knew each other, like their own little community, all talking to each other and dealing with each other. They were 20, but they were no match for our 60, 70, 80 that we had today,” McFatridge said. “We are absolutely committed to working hard and working with other agencies. We as agencies have to learn to go outside [our normal jurisdictions] to come together to send a message.”
McFatridge said in his 30 years in law enforcement, he has seen the way drugs affect a community — not just in Redfield, but everywhere — causing secondary crimes like burglaries, shootings and more. He said tackling drugs head-on was one of his main goals when he became chief in 2010. The meth sting started with one traffic stop and gathered steam from there.
“I’m the police chief, and I feel like it’s my duty to serve and protect, and when you have drug activity, it brings other criminal activity to your city,” he said. “It goes hand in hand, and I truly feel like things like this — it makes a difference.”
A complete list of those served and the charges involved was not immediately available Wednesday, but McFatrdige said it will be released in the coming days. He said all charges are drug-related and are for distribution of methamphetamine. Some of the suspects will appear in Jefferson County Court, while others will appear in Grant County Court and one each will appear in Saline and Pulaski county courts.