Dozens arrested in sex offender sting in Benton County
BENTONVILLE — A total of 46 registered sex offenders who were not in compliance with registration requirements in Benton County have been arrested, authorities said.
Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith and Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway announced the arrests Aug. 31 at a news conference.
The arrests were part of Operation Clean Sweep, a sex offender compliance operation led by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Public safety is the top responsibility of the government, Smith said. He said there are 500 registered sex offenders in Benton County.
“Operation Clean Sweep is a message that in this community we are not going to assume that these people are doing what they should be doing,” Smith said.
He said registered sex offenders living in the county should expect more random checks and more contact with law enforcement.
Smith said more than 100 law enforcement officers across Benton County participated in the special operation, which took place Aug. 23-25.
Law enforcement conducted 500 checks and 266 contacts. Forty-five people were arrested and two warrants were issued during the operation, Smith said. The individuals were arrested in connection with failure to register, noncompliance, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of drugs, Holloway said.
He said 222 people were found in compliance, and no contact was made with 172 people.
Officers seized 26 electronic devices and eight firearms, Holloway said.
Smith said multiple federal investigations are being opened as a result of the special operation.
Holloway described the operation as successful. He said more will be planned in the future.
Holloway said two deputies are assigned to monitor the 240 sex offenders registered with the Sheriff’s Office. The other sex offenders are monitored by the county’s police departments, he said. The operation brings more resources to assist with monitoring sex offenders, Smith said.
Holloway said he will have to look at adding manpower to assist with monitoring the sex offenders registered with the office.
Holloway encouraged people to download the Sheriff’s Office’s app with which they can learn whether a registered sex offender lives near their homes.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, Arkansas Probation and Parole, Arkansas State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security and Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, along with police departments in Bentonville, Rogers, Pea Ridge, Bella Vista, Centerton, Gentry, Decatur and Springdale, participated in the operation, Holloway said.