A task force in northeast Arkansas has been formed to fight crime across the state.
The Second Judicial District Organized Criminal Activity Task Force is now on the streets. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington formed the task force, which is made up of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The task force is the first of its kind in the state. Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot says the collaboration in partners can help in faster prosecutions of repeat offenders.
“By bringing in the same agencies and everyone sharing the same information, we can help utilize that information and it will lead to clearing cases a lot faster.”
Elliot says he has several officers who have been deputized to work as federal officers, which has helped in the fight against crime.
“This past year, with my ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) officer on board, any convicted felon caught with a firearm can now face up to 15 years in federal prison. We have been running down at least 20 indictments this past year alone, bringing people up on federal charges.”
United States Attorney Cody Highland says the main advantage of the task force is to bring much larger sentences against criminals.
“The repeat offenders are educated and know the system well,” says Highland. “They are not afraid of a state felon in possession charge, but at the federal level, we can get 5 to 15 years (depending on criminal history).”
The task force is going after drug and gang activity, as well as violent crime, money laundering and human trafficking.