CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens, 57, entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday against firearm and drug charges.
On Dec. 3, 2022, a trooper for Arkansas State Police was contacted by an FBI special agent “in reference to a corruption and narcotics investigation.” That agent wanted state police to stop Stephens after he left a residence they had been watching.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, troopers watched Stephens leave that residence and head south on Highway 71 in his Johnson County patrol car. A trooper observed Stephens speeding and initiated a traffic stop north of Alma.
The trooper explained the reason for his stop, asked Stephens to remove his service weapon and leave it in his car, then asked him to exit the vehicle. When asked why he was in Crawford County, Stephens replied that he was visiting his confidential informants. When asked if he had anything illegal in the car, Stephens admitted to having controlled substances.
Stephens was handcuffed and taken into custody and a search of the vehicle turned up three oxycodone pills, two hydrocodone pills, a small amount of marijuana and approximately nine ounces of marijuana butter.
Stephens was charged with speeding, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and three different charges of possession of a controlled substance.
Stephens was re-elected as Johnson County Sheriff in November 2022 with nearly 62% of the vote. He was released from jail on a $25,000 bond on Dec. 4.