Johnson County Sheriff's arrest part of FBI probe

VAN BUREN - The arrest in Crawford County Saturday of Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens during a traffic stop was part of an ongoing FBI investigation, a spokesman confirmed Monday.

Criminal felony charges of possession of a controlled substance are expected to be filed in Crawford County against Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens who was arrested by Arkansas State Police troopers on U.S. 71 Saturday.

Stephens was released on $25,000 bail after being booked at the Crawford County Detention Center on complaints of illegal drug possession while having a firearm, an Arkansas State Police spokesman said.

Stephens' traffic stop and arrest was part of a federal investigation, said Connor Hagan, FBI spokesman in Little Rock.

"It was part of an ongoing federal investigation. But because of that I cannot release any more details," Hagan said Monday.

Related:Johnson County, Ark. sheriff arrested in Crawford County

Hagan said there have not been any federal charges filed against Stephens, and the criminal complaints alleged in the Saturday arrest in Crawford County would be presented to prosecutors to file on the state level.

A spokeswoman in Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Rinda Baker's office said a report was expected from the state police Monday. No formal charges had been filed Monday afternoon against Stephens.

Stephens was expected Monday to release a statement about the weekend arrest on the Johnson County Sheriff's Facebook page, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Stephens, a Republican, was elected as sheriff in 2019 and re-elected in May with 62% of the vote over Republican Charles "Buddy" Beaver who had 38% of the vote.

Stephens remains in office as of Monday, a sheriff's spokesman said.

On April 5, Stephens posted photographs of an arrest that resulted in seizure of illegal drugs, guns and paraphernalia called "Operation West Wind." Stephens is pictured with a yard sign that says, "This drug house closed for business." The operation involved a number of area drug task forces, according to the post about it on the Johnson County Sheriff's Facebook page.

Stephens will appear in court Dec. 12.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Johnson County, Arkansas sheriff arrest part of an FBI probe