CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Johnson County Sheriff arrested last year on gun and drug charges has pleaded guilty and agreed to resign as part of a plea agreement.
James “Jimmy” Stephens, 58, was arrested on Dec. 3 during a traffic stop where Arkansas State Police found drugs and guns.
An Arkansas State Police affidavit said that a trooper 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.
Troopers watched Stephens leave that residence and head south on Highway 71 in his Johnson County patrol car. Stephens was speeding a traffic stop was initiated north of Alma.
Stephens told officers that he was visiting his confidential informants. When asked if he had anything illegal in the car, he admitted to having three oxycodone pills, a small amount of marijuana and marijuana butter.
A search of his vehicle turned up three oxycodone pills, two hydrocodone pills, a small amount of marijuana and approximately nine ounces of marijuana butter.
Additionally, a search of his residence revealed six growing marijuana plants, prescription oxycodone and hydrocodone matching that taken from Stephens and multiple guns.
At the jail, Stephens said that he received the drugs from his informants.
FBI agents went to the residence where Stephens said he had gotten the pills and marijuana product. The people at the residence confirmed making and selling the marijuana product to Stephens.
Stephens was released on a $25,000 bond the day after his arrest and pleaded not guilty to charges of simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a controlled substance and speeding.
He entered the guilty plea during a status hearing on Oct. 25. He was set to go to trial on Nov. 9 in Crawford County.
Stephens pleaded guilty to drug possession. He resigned as sheriff of Johnson County effective at midnight on Oct. 25.
He was sentenced to a six-year suspended imposition of sentence, a $10,000 fine, $190 in court costs, $150 drug task force fee and $250 DNA fee.
Stephens has been ordered to surrender his law enforcement certificates by noon on Oct. 27. As a convicted felon, he is no longer eligible to serve as an elected official in Arkansas, according to a release from the Crawford County prosecutor’s office.
Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Holmes says that it will be up to the quorum court in Johnson County to find a replacement for Stephens.