Home Little Rock Press Releases 2011 Lead Defendant in Operation Delta Blues Pleads Guilty

Lead Defendant in Operation Delta Blues Pleads Guilty

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 21, 2011
  • Eastern District of Arkansas (501) 340-2600

LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, along with Valerie Parlave, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that Sedrick Trice, age 27, of Helena-West Helena, entered a plea of guilty to count one (conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance) and count six (possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime) of the October 4, 2011 indictment United States v. Sedrick Trice et al., Case No. 4:11CR00209 JMM.

At his plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody in open court today, 2011, Trice admitted to being a leader of a drug trafficking conspiracy in Helena-West Helena, as well as possessing a firearm to protect his drug trafficking activities. Pursuant to his plea agreement, because the court accepted Trice’s plea and the plea agreement, the court will accept the parties recommendation and sentence the defendant to a term of imprisonment of 40 years pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure, Rule 11(c)(1)(C).

The charges stemmed from multiple Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations spanning more than a two-year period. The investigations, collectively referred to as “Operation Delta Blues,” primarily focused on public corruption and drug trafficking activities in the Helena-West Helena and Marianna, Arkansas, areas. The United States Attorney’s Office utilized 16 court-authorized wiretaps over the course of Operation Delta Blues. Approximately 800 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRSS-CID), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), Arkansas State Police (ASP), and the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) participated in the October 11, 2011, arrests.

The charges in the indictment as to defendant Sedrick Trice were:

Count one—21 U.S.C. § 846—drug conspiracy
Counts two, three, four—21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)—possession with intent to distribute (pwid)/distribute controlled substance
Count five—18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)—felon in possession of firearm
Count six—18 U.S.C. § 924(c)—possession of firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime
Count eight—18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)—felon in possession of firearm
Count nine-18 U.S.C. § 924(c)—possession of firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime
Count 12—21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)—pwid/distribute controlled substance
Count 13,15-17—21 U.S.C. § 856—maintaining drug premises
Count 14—21 U.S.C. § 860—pwid/distributing drugs within 1000 feet of school Count 18-19—21 U.S.C. § 843(b)—use of phone in drug trafficking crime

The defendant entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute and to distribute in excess of five kilograms of a mixture and substance containing cocaine, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, as set forth in count one of the Indictment; and a plea of guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c), as set forth in count six of the Indictment. The United States dismissed the remaining counts against the defendant in this matter (counts two, three, four, five, eight, nine, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19) upon acceptance of the guilty plea.

The potential penalties for count one and count six are as follows: The maximum penalty for the charge set forth in count one is not less than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment, not less than five years and up to life supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The maximum penalty for the charge set forth in count six is not less than five years’ imprisonment (to be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for count one) and up to life imprisonment, not less than five years and up to life supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office, FBI, DEA, ATF, IRS-CID, ASP and LRPD. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Peters, Benecia B. Moore, and Michael Gordon.

Statutory Sentences

Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 carries a possible punishment of no less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10 million.

Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 carries a possible punishment of no less than five and up to 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5 million.

Distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) carries a possible punishment of no less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10 million. The use of a communication facility (telephone) in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b) carries a possible punishment of up to four years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.

Maintaining a drug-involved premises in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856 carries a possible punishment of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and up to a $500,000 fine.

Distribution or manufacturing of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 860 carries a possible punishment of up to life imprisonment, and up to a $20 million fine.

The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) carries a possible punishment of no less than five years and up to life imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.

Possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and disposing of a firearm to a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), carry a possible punishment of not more than 10 years’ imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.