“Operation Hartbreak Kid” Results in Thirteen Arrests
Methamphetamine, Firearms Recovered from North Little Rock Drug Ring
LITTLE ROCK (STL.News) Thirteen people will appear in federal court today after being arrested Tuesday morning as part of “Operation Hartbreak Kid.” Named after lead defendant Derrick Hart, 27, of North Little Rock, this operation targeted drug distribution in the North Little Rock area.
In December 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began an investigation into a methamphetamine and cocaine distribution ring based in the McAlmont neighborhood of North Little Rock. During the investigation, Hart and Tetus Jenkins, 43, of North Little Rock, were identified as the sources of supply to more than eight other individuals. During the investigation, DEA covertly purchased approximately two pounds of methamphetamine from various co-conspirators and seized more than a pound of methamphetamine and several firearms during the execution of search warrants. During Tuesday’s arrests, officers recovered an additional AR-15 rifle.
The distribution ring operated from a parking lot at the corner of Zinnia Street and Cotton Road in McAlmont, as well as a local McAlmont club at 410 Mimosa Street. Local authorities reported receiving citizen complaints about drug trafficking and gunshots at these locations.
The defendants arrested include Hart, Jenkins, Justin Cross, 29, of North Little Rock; Jonathan Dunigan, 23, of Austin; Andre Graves, 44, of Little Rock; Bianca Lavonda, 33, of North Little Rock; Prince Strong, 37, of Jacksonville; Steven Taylor, 64, of Jacksonville; Daniel White, 34, of North Little Rock; and Dayton Wiggins, Jr., 47, of Jacksonville. In addition to those arrested on Tuesday, seven others have been charged and arrested in separate indictments in connection with this operation.
“Drug trafficking brings violence and fear to our communities, and we will do everything we can to protect our streets from these crimes,” stated Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “We appreciate the dedication and commitment of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who conducted this investigation and made these arrests.”
“Methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl are insidious, addictive drugs that consume all who abuse them,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jarad Harper. “With this investigation, DEA, working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, has taken down a drug trafficking organization responsible for bringing significant amounts of these illegal dangerous drugs into Arkansas through the U.S. Postal Service.
This organization used the mail system to evade detection in order to facilitate their operation. These arrests are indicative of our commitment to rid our communities of these criminals determined to profit on the backs of addiction. DEA is committed to its partnerships with all of our law enforcement allies in our ongoing efforts to make our communities safer and a better place for our families and children. “
“These arrests represent the commitment of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to find and dismantle groups who misuse the U.S. Mail,” said Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Fort Worth Division of the USPIS. “This investigation involved the seizure of various illegal drugs ranging from marijuana to fentanyl, along with several firearms. This achievement was made possible by a collaborative effort with our many local and federal law enforcement agencies. We will continue to identify and bring to justice offenders like these to protect our communities and the U.S. Mail.”
Operation Hartbreak Kid was conducted by the DEA with assistance from the USPIS, United States Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, North Little Rock Police Department, Arkansas Community Corrections, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, Lonoke Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, and Jacksonville Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne Gardner.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.
An indictment contains only allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.