Little Rock charter-school teacher also faces federal drug counts

Posted: March 1, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Shernetta Bogard, 39, of Little Rock

A Little Rock charter-school teacher faces federal charges after being arrested last week in a wide-ranging takedown operation that was part of a larger effort to target gangs and violent criminals.

Authorities arrested 39-year-old Shernetta Bogard early Feb. 22 at 4 Silver Fir Court in west Little Rock, where authorities said they found six firearms, ammunition and more than 5 pounds of suspected cocaine.

An arrest report listed Bogard as a teacher at Little Rock Preparatory Academy, part of the Exalt Education Network in central Arkansas.

Federal court filings said the west Little Rock house is a known residence of 38-year-old Sabin McCuien -- one of 49 defendants listed in two complaints and 13 indictments identified by federal authorities last week. A total of 21 of the 49 defendants were arrested on the morning of Feb. 22, the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock reported last week.

Bogard was not listed as one of the 49 defendants. She faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Bogard also faces 10 state charges, including maintaining a drug premises, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, according to the Pulaski County sheriff's office arrest report. Records show that Bogard pleaded innocent Friday to the 10 counts in Little Rock District Court.

In general, the state will dismiss charges when federal charges have been filed for the same offense, said Chris Givens, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Yet, he said local prosecutors would have to make the decision to drop the state charges.

Around 6 a.m. Feb. 22, surveillance was set up on 4 Silver Fir Court "in anticipation of a federal search warrant being executed at" the house, according to the affidavit.

At 6:02 a.m., Bogard and several children exited the house and tried to leave in a silver Lexus, the document says. Before the Lexus could leave, a tactical team from the Pulaski County sheriff's office arrived to execute the warrant, according to the affidavit.

The document said Bogard's eldest daughter was allowed to drive the younger children to school.

Bogard told authorities that McCuien had not lived at the house in three or four months, according to the affidavit. She said she and McCuien had split up "and it was just she and her children living there," the affidavit says.

Authorities noted in the affidavit that McCuien was seen at the residence on Feb. 7, just before selling crack cocaine to a confidential source. McCuien also told the confidential source that he had been at his residence in west Little Rock, the document says.

According to the affidavit, Bogard said a white Chevrolet Suburban parked in the garage belonged to McCuien.

"A clear-wrapped ball of suspected cocaine was located on top of the right rear wheel of the Suburban parked inside the garage," the affidavit says.

Three "vacuum-sealed packages" of suspected cocaine were later found "behind" two of the other wheels, the document said.

Authorities said they found six firearms inside the room "indicated" by Bogard as holding the bulk of McCuien's items.

In the master bedroom upstairs, where Bogard said she stayed, authorities found money counting machines, a set of digital scales and a box of small bags, according to the affidavit.

An archived online employee directory listed Bogard as a third-grade instructor at the academy's primary school, at 1616 S. Spring St. Bogard was off the website Tuesday morning.

Christina Long, superintendent at Exalt Education Inc., said the teacher had been placed on administrative leave "for alleged activity that happened away from our campus." She did not name the instructor.

McCuien was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base.

Information for this article was contributed by Brandon Riddle of Arkansas Online.

Metro on 03/01/2018