- Associated Press - Saturday, June 23, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Increased efforts to battle drug and gun crimes have led to more than 70 indictments filed so far this month, according to federal authorities in Arkansas.

The figures come as state, local and federal authorities earlier this year vowed to step up prosecutions in the state’s Eastern District, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland on Friday announced the filing of 73 indictments in June. A typical month has 10 to 30 indictments.

Records show 39 of the cases involved gun crimes filed as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. The effort also includes targeting gangs and violence in Little Rock.

Billboards posted across Little Rock since the initiative was announced note that parole is not available in the federal prison system.

“We will not slow down or back off our commitment to take dangerous individuals off the streets and put them in prison by any means available to us under federal law,” Hiland said.

Federal prosecutors in Little Rock last year pursued 62 indictments in which a gun charge was the primary crime, Hiland said. Throughout 2017, the highest number of indictments associated with Project Safe Neighborhoods filed in any one month was 15, last July.

A Department of Justice initiative will add 12 special U.S. attorneys in Little Rock to handle the extra caseload, Hiland said.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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