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A Royal man who was one of the last suspects arrested as part of the 2017 crackdown on drug trafficking dubbed Operation Ice Storm was also the last case adjudicated when he pleaded guilty Monday.

Joshua Lee Campbell, 40, who lists a Bramblebush Lane address, pleaded guilty in Garland County Circuit Court to a felony charge of delivery of meth, amended from a class Y felony punishable by up to life in prison to a class B punishable by up to 20 years, and was sentenced to eight years in prison, with the entire sentence suspended.

Campbell, who was set to stand trial today on the charge, was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $545 in court costs. He also agreed to sign a search waiver allowing authorities to search him or his vehicle as needed in the future.

Deputy Prosecutor Trent Daniels said Tuesday Campbell was a first-time offender and investigators had only made one buy from him. "He wasn't a big problem," he said, noting a suspended sentence "made the most sense."

"We wanted to be able to monitor him and we also didn't want to burn our informant," Daniels said, noting Campbell agreed to plead guilty without the confidential informant having to be named in open court.

"I am pretty sure he was the last open case from (Operation Ice Storm)," he said.

A total of 36 alleged drug traffickers in Garland County were arrested as a result of the multi-agency law enforcement sting that reportedly took up to $1 million worth of drugs off the street.

Representatives of the various agencies involved held a news conference on Sept. 29, 2017, to announce the arrests and Campbell was arrested shortly after the news conference concluded, bringing the total to 36.

The operation was conducted by the 18th Judicial District East Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police and the Department of Homeland Security investigations, with the Hot Springs Police Department and Garland County Sheriff's Department assisting in the resulting round-up of suspects.

Garland County Prosecutor Michelle Lawrence, who serves as project manager for the DTF, said at the time that investigators seized more than 30 pounds of meth, two ounces of powder cocaine, 31 Ecstasy pills, 141 other controlled pharmaceuticals and 17 firearms during the operation.

According to the probable cause affidavit against Campbell, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 of 2016, DTF agents used a confidential informant to purchase a quantity of meth from him in Garland County.

A portion of the product purchased, which was more than 10 grams, but less than 200 grams, field tested positive for meth. Campbell was positively identified as the one who sold the meth based on prior encounters with him and matching his photo through ACIC and NCIC databases.

Campbell was arrested on Sept. 29, 2017, and released later that same day on $10,000 bond. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge on Oct. 23, 2017.

Local on 06/27/2018

Print Headline: Last of Operation Ice Storm defendants pleads guilty

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