Nine Arrested For Drug Trafficking In Northwest Arkansas

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Nine people were arrested Thursday (Aug. 17) in connection with drug trafficking in Boone, Baxter, Carroll, Newton, Searcy and Washington counties after a year-long investigation by multiple police agencies, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Eureka Springs police, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations, had been investigating methamphetamine and heroin trafficking in the region after a similar operation last year netted 19 arrests in Harrison.

Those arrested Thursday include:

  • Ricky Dwayne Moles, 56, of Harrison
  • Vance Lynn Parnin, Jr., 48, of Berryville
  • Eric Lynn Friend, 39, of Harrison
  • Ricky William Akins, 59, of Lead Hill
  • Brittnee Nicole Perkins, 27, of Harrison
  • Julia Nicole Holley, 31, of Little Rock
  • Amy Leann Friend-Hagler, 37, of Greenbrier
  • Bobby Gene Ellis, Jr., 44, of Harrison
  • Melissa Haley Childs, 30, of Harrison

A federal grand jury on July 25 indicted the group on 24 counts of distributing methamphetamine. One of those charged, Corky Ray Anglin, remains at large, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Three additional defendants — Mark Mock, Ricky Smith and Albert Bynum, Jr. — had already been arrested and are in custody awaiting trial.

“We remain committed in our dedication to eradicate the flow of illegal narcotics into our communities,” said Diane Upchurch, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Little Rock field office.

Upchurch also praised the cooperation between law enforcement, thanking them for their “leadership, professionalism, and participation in this case.”

Eureka Springs Police Chief Thomas Achord echoed a similar sentiment, saying the combined resources ensured families have peace of mind.

“Our community and its citizens deserve a safe and welcoming environment in which they go to school, work, and enjoy their daily lives,” Achord said.

The nine defendants arrested Thursday will be arraigned Monday (Aug. 21) in U.S. District Court in Fayettville. They were being held Friday (Aug. 18) without bond at the Washington County Detention Center.