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Tag: Arkansas

FBI Arrests Two Ex-Arkansas Sheriff’s Deputies Caught on Viral Video in Violent Arrest

By Allan Lengel

The FBI on Tuesday arrested two ex-Crawford County, Arkansas, sheriff’s on charges of using excessive force during an arrest last August of a 27-year-old man at a gas station.

Screen shot of video from 5News

Levi White and Zackary King face federal civil rights offenses for using excessive force during the arrest of the man on Aug. 21 at a gas station in Mulberry, Arkansas. The arrest was captured on video that went viral.

Specifically, White and King are accused of striking the man multiple times while he was lying on the ground. He suffered “bodily injuries.”

The two men entered a not guilty plea during their initial appearance in federal court before they were released. Trial is set for April 3.

The FBI Little Rock Field Office investigated the case.

Former Head of U.S. Marshals Museum Pleads Guilty to Assault Charges

U.S. Marshals Museum in Arkansas.

By Steve Neavling

The president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Ark., received two suspended prison sentences of six years after pleading guilty to two charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

Patrick Weeks, 53, was accused of pointing a pistol at two construction workers outside of his house in December after refusing to let them on his property to repair a street light. 

According to authorities, Weeks continued pointing the pistol at the workers while they drove off. 

Weeks was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 23 and resigned on March 4. 

The museum hired Ben Johnson to replace Weeks in August. 

Former DEA Agent Sentenced to 135 Months in Prison for Taking Bribes from Drug Kingpin

By Steve Neavling

A former DEA agent who accepted bribes from a drug trafficker was sentenced to 135 months in prison on Wednesday. 

Nathan Koen, 45, was charged in November 2019 with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine and one count of bribery of a public official. 

The drug-related charges were dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to bribery. 

Koen accepted bribes from a large-scale drug trafficker in exchange for providing sensitive law enforcement information that helped the trafficker run his drug organization and avoid detection by authorities. 

“This defendant’s actions are a disgrace to the thousands of dedicated law enforcement officers who work with integrity every day to protect and serve our communities,” U.S. Attorney Jonathan D. Ross said in a statement. “His greed and deception have no place in law enforcement, and we are pleased to see this case come to its rightful conclusion.”

 Koen, who had been working for the DEA since 2002, came under investigation by the FBI in 2018. At the time, he was a group supervisor in the Little Rock DEA office. 

In interviews with the FBI, the drug trafficker said he had paid Koen cash in exchange for information and protection. 

Arkansas Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Death Threats to FBI Agents

FBI’s Little Rock Field Office. (FBI)

By Steve Neavling

An Arkansas man who sent death threats to FBI agents and a former U.S. attorney was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Wednesday. 

Clayton Jackson, 35, who was living in Dewitt, Arkansas, at the time, mailed two letters to the FBI office in Little Rock in February 2020 and March 2020, threatening to kill multiple bureau employees. Jackson signed the letters. 

In an interview with the FBI, Jackson admitted sending the letters and repeated his intention to kill the employees. 

After he was indicted, Jackson continued to send death threats to the employees and former U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland. In the letters, he said he planed to escape from prison to kill the employees and Hiland. 

Jackson pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to three counts of threatening to assault and murder a federal official and two counts of mailing threatening communications. 

 “This defendant’s repeated threats against law enforcement were a failed attempt to intimidate those who have sworn to protect and serve,” Acting United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross said in a statement. “This lengthy sentence should serve as a warning: threats like these will not be tolerated and will not prevent law enforcement from doing their important work of protecting our communities.”

Jason Van Goor, acting special agent in charge of the Little Rock office, added, “We take any threat against law enforcement seriously, and we believe Mr. Jackson’s 40-year sentence will serve as a warning to anyone thinking about threatening federal agents and officers. As always, we are grateful to our partners at the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas for their tremendous work on this case.”

2 Arkansas Juvenile Detention Officers Plead Guilty to Assaulting Youth Inmates

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it is “appalled” after discovering that two former juvenile detention officers at an Arkansas facility conspired to assault youth inmates.

Investigators said the two officers peppers-sprayed inmates who posed no threat.

Those officers, former White River Juvenile Detention Center supervisors Capt. Peggy Kendrick, 43, and Lt. Dennis Fuller, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates in U.S. District Court. Kendrick also pleaded guilty to falsifying a report by trying to cover up that she pepper-sprayed a 16-year-old girl.

“In some instances, they then shut the compliant juveniles in their cells after pepper spraying them to ‘let them cook,’ rather than immediately decontaminating them,” a news release said. “Kendrick also encouraged the juvenile detention officers, who unjustifiably assaulted juveniles, to falsify their incident reports to cover up the assaults.”

The cause remains under investigation by the FBI in Little Rock.

The officers have been fired.

Diane Upchurch Has Been Named Head of FBI’s Little Rock Office

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Diane Upchurch, who was most recently section chief of International Terrorism Operations Section 1 in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Little Rock Division.

Upchurch joined the FBI in 1995 and was first assigned to  the Dallas Division, where she focused primarily on gang, organized crime and drugs,  according to an FBI press release.

She was then assigned to the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, where she worked on international and domestic terrorism investigations. 

Later, she was off to the Los Angeles Field Office and was assigned to a drug squad as part of the Southwest Border Initiative.

In the course of her career, she has held leadership positions in the Investigative Technologies Division, Counterintelligence Division, Los Angeles Field Office and the Counterterrorism Division.

FBI Unsure Whether It Can Unlock iPhone in Arkansas Murder Case

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Arkansas prosecutor suggested this week that FBI agents would help hack into a locked iPhone and iPod of two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

The FBI responded that it’s unsure it can crack the devices, backing away from the prosecutor’s statements, ABC News reports.

While the FBI said it’s not ruling out the possibility, the bureau said it hasn’t learned enough about the devices to know definitively whether it can help.

At issue is whether the FBI can use the technique it employed to access a locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“At the time of the request, no information was provided regarding the device models or operating systems, so FBI Little Rock was not able to state if they would be able to provide assistance. The FBI does not currently have possession of the devices,” the agency wrote. “The FBI’s handling of this request is not related to the San Bernardino matter.”

The FBI has not divulged how it opened the San Bernardino phone.

FBI to Help Arkansas Prosecutors Unlock iPhone, iPad in Murder Case

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping prosecutors open an iPhone 6 and an iPod linked to a murder case in Arkansas after successfully hacking an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The FBI’s Little Rock field office has agreed to help gain access to the locked devices, which belong to suspects in the slayings of Robert and Patricia Cordell, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

It’s not yet clear how the FBI plans to open the phone or if its plans to use the same method it used to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone.

The Arkansas case involves four suspects, ages 14 to 18, who have been charged in the killings.

“The iPod had just come into our possession a couple of weeks ago,” Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ 20th Judicial District, said Wednesday. “Obviously when we heard that [the FBI] had been able to crack that phone we wanted to at least ask and see if they wanted to help.”