LITTLE ROCK — In a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Chris Thyer, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced multiple indictments in two different cases.
Thyer was joined at the news conference by officers from the Little Rock and North Little Rock police departments, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
State and federal prosecutors also were in attendance.
All the agencies involved had agreed to be part of the Violence Reduction Network, a program that started in 2015 to help reduce violent crimes by having local police work with federal law enforcement while state prosecutors work with their federal counterparts to see what crimes could be prosecuted on the state or federal level.
The two-year program sunsets this year, but not before it bore significant fruit, Thyer said.
Thyer said Tuesday that 41 separate federal cases had been brought as a result of the various agencies working together.
“It’s a tool,” Thyer said of the program. “A tool used to stem violent crime across the country.”
All 41 defendants are convicted felons, and all have been charged with various gun and drug crimes.
Of the 41, almost all are from Pulaski County and 18 have North Little Rock addresses, while Little Rock claimed 17.
“They are truly among the worst of the worst,” Thyer said, and specifically cited Antwan Martin, 27, North Little Rock, as an example of the worst.
Martin was charged with three felonies in this indictment, and Thyer said Martin had seven felony convictions and multiple misdemeanors in his criminal history while still in his early 20s.
Some of the previous crimes allegedly committed by the 41 defendants include: manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, car-jacking, robbery and aggravated robbery, residential burglary, domestic battery, delivery of controlled substances and possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Thyer said the U.S. attorney’s office would be looking for more indictments between now and the end of the year, a comment that was echoed by Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner.
In an unrelated case, Thyer said two more people -- Quinshod Shaw, 27, and Darris Denton, 29, both of Oklahoma City -- were added to the indictment in connection with a 2015 Little Rock jewelry store robbery.
Roberson’s Fine Jewelry had more than $300,000 worth of merchandise taken. Thyer said none of it has been recovered.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Little Rock Police Department.