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The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics says a large cocaine ring that moved the drug through Dallas and Little Rock, Arkansas, before bringing it to Muskogee for distribution has been broken.

OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said agents and officers from several departments began serving arrest and search warrants Friday morning and have arrested 21 of 24 suspects in the Muskogee area on charges including distribution and trafficking cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Martha Shoffner
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Federal prosecutors are being given more time to respond to a filing by the attorney for convicted ex-Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Thursday gave prosecutors until May 18 to respond to the filing in which attorney Chuck Banks objects to a report suggesting Shoffner spend at least 15 years in prison for bribery and extortion convictions. Banks says a more appropriate sentence would be about 12 to 18 months, with half served in home detention.

The response was due Friday, but U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said more time is needed.

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is planning to honor the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine with its Lincoln Leadership Prize later this month.

The foundation said Thursday that it would honor the civil rights figures on May 18 during a dinner in Chicago. Actress and playwright Regina Taylor will present the awards.

A hostile crowd confronted the nine students as they helped integrate Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They became known as the Little Rock Nine.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says its current lineup of justices should decide whether to legalize gay marriage in the state.

Arkansas officials have revised upward the state's general revenue forecast for the current fiscal year by 2.1 percent from a forecast in November.

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas state treasurer's office has put on hold a new office policy requiring employees to delete all emails after 30 days.

Spokesman Grant Wallace for Republican Treasurer Dennis Milligan said Wednesday that the policy put in place April 17 had been suspended pending further review. An email was sent to treasurer's office employees on April 29 directing them to disregard the deletion policy, which was being removed from the employee handbook.

The email said employees would be notified if and when any new retention policy was established.

A former Paragould gynecologist has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to video voyeurism involving female patients at his clinic.

Prosecutors say 69-year-old Paul Becton was sentenced after pleading guilty Wednesday in Greene County Circuit Court to four charges as part of a plea deal in which four other charges were dismissed. District Attorney Scott Ellington said the victims approved the deal in order to avoid testifying.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

An Arkansas legislative committee is scheduled to hear from the state's top economic official.

The Joint Committee on Economic and Tax Policy will meet at the state Capitol Wednesday at 2 p.m. for a presentation on the state's general revenue forecast from Department of Finance and Administration Director Larry Walther.

State officials released the April revenue report Monday, which showed a surge in tax collections in nearly every major category.

The Hot Springs Board of Directors has passed an ordinance that would prohibit the city and its vendors from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The board voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance Tuesday night. The anti-discrimination ordinance applies to all city departments regarding hiring practices and conduct by city employees.

District 3 Director Becca Clark, the sponsor of the ordinance, said it was necessary because it was the right thing to do for business. She said Hot Springs should show that it is welcoming to everyone.

Timothy Lamont Howard
Arkansas Times

Witnesses have testified in the capital murder trial of a man charged in the 1997 deaths of an Ashdown couple that the deceased were methamphetamine users.

Timothy Lamont Howard is on trial for the second time in the deaths of Brian and Shannon Day and for attempted murder of the couple's 7-month-old son. Prosecutors have said Timothy Lamont Howard killed Shannon Day because she thought she was pregnant with Howard's child and that he killed Brian Day for money.

His convictions were overturned in 2013 because of new evidence the defense didn't have in his first trial.

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