Delta Crossroads Leader Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison
LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; along with David T. Resch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Colonel William J. Bryant, of the Arkansas State Police; and Donald Oakes, Chief of the West Memphis Police Department; announced today that Rafael McDaniel, age 33, of West Memphis, Arkansas, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment following his convictions before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller.
On March 20, 2015, McDaniel was convicted of drug trafficking and firearms offenses following a jury trial in Case No. 13CR329-1 BSM before Chief Judge Miller. At today’s sentencing hearing Chief Judge Miller determined that McDaniel was responsible for the distribution of between 840 grams and 2.8 kilograms of crack cocaine in West Memphis between January 2012 through November 2013. Chief Judge Miller further enhanced McDaniel’s sentence because McDaniel obstructed justice by lying about his drug and gun activities during his testimony at trial. Chief Judge Miller sentenced McDaniel to 15 years’ imprisonment on the drug trafficking offenses (Counts One, Two, and Twenty-Five), and a consecutive five years on the firearm offense (Count Twenty-Six), for a total of 20 years. There is no parole in the federal system. McDaniel will serve a term of four years of supervised release following his release from imprisonment, and must pay a $400 special assessment.
“We are committed to working together in this district to dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in our communities,” stated Thyer. “When local law enforcement asks for assistance from federal partners as the West Memphis Police Department did in this case, everyone benefits. Law enforcement, at all levels, is able to take advantage of increased manpower and resources to bring a case to a successful close.
“Our commitment to eradicating drug trafficking and violent crime has never been stronger. With this conviction, another violent drug dealer has been removed from the streets for a very long time.”
“Today’s sentencing is a reflection of our continued commitment to addressing crime in Northeast Arkansas,” SAC Resch said. “We appreciate the efforts of our partners, the United States Attorney’s Office, Arkansas State Police, and the West Memphis Police Department.”
At trial, Rafael McDaniel was convicted of the following offenses:
- Count One: conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846. This count carries a potential punishment of not less than five years and up to 40 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $5 million, and not less than four years and up to life supervised release.
- Count Two and Count Twenty-Five: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, commonly known as crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Each count carries a punishment of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million, and not less than three years and up to life supervised release.
- Count Twenty-Six: Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c). This count carries a punishment of not less than five years and up to life imprisonment, which must be served consecutive to Counts One, Two, and Twenty-Five, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to five years’ supervised release.
McDaniel was acquitted of Count Eighteen (use of a telephone in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843), and Count Three (possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)).
Count Two stemmed from a search warrant executed by the West Memphis Police Department at McDaniel’s residence in West Memphis on February 19, 2012. Officers recovered crack cocaine, a kilogram press with cocaine residue, more than $12,000 in cash, and 14 firearms, many of which were loaded, among other items. Counts Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six stemmed from a search warrant executed by the FBI at McDaniel’s residence in West Memphis on November 18, 2013. Agents recovered cocaine, crack cocaine, scales with cocaine residue, more than $7,000 in cash, and five firearms, among other items.
The charges are the result of a state and federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed “Delta Crossroads.” The investigation, which primarily focused on drug trafficking in West Memphis, was initiated by the FBI at the request of the West Memphis Police Department, which tasked several narcotics detectives to assist with the investigation. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement utilized three court-authorized wiretaps, during which hundreds of calls pertaining to cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking and firearms offenses were intercepted. On July 2, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a 26-count Superseding Indictment charging 18 individuals in Crittenden County with participating in the drug conspiracy and with firearms offenses. Rafael McDaniel was the sole defendant to go to trial. Sixteen defendants pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Arkansas to drug trafficking offenses; one defendant resolved his charges as part of a related indictment in the Western District of Tennessee. Two defendants charged in the original indictment on November 6, 2013 were not included in the Superseding Indictment: one defendant resolved his charges as part of a related indictment in the Western District of Tennessee, and one defendant is deceased.
McDaniel’s co-defendants were previously sentenced before Chief Judge Miller, and received the following terms of incarceration:
- Demetrius Barrett, age 32, of West Memphis, 72 months’ imprisonment.
- Brandon Bohannon, age 31, of Marion, 168 months’ imprisonment.
- Brent Bohannon, age 23, of Jonesboro, 48 months’ imprisonment.
- Willie Brown, age 37, of West Memphis, 48 months’ imprisonment.
- Willie Cooper, age 52, of West Memphis, 60 months’ imprisonment.
- David Edwards, age 30, of Olive Branch, MS, 60 months’ imprisonment.
- Wendell Glenn, age 29, of West Memphis, 84 months’ imprisonment.
- David Green, age 27, of West Memphis, 120 months’ imprisonment.
- Delvin Green, age 25, of West Memphis, 121 months’ imprisonment.
- Courtney Hamilton, age 25, of West Memphis, 60 months’ imprisonment.
- John Hayes, age 50, of Houston, Texas, 96 months’ imprisonment.
- Michael McDonald, age 29, of West Memphis, 188 months’ imprisonment.
- Deloricko Prewitt, age 34, of West Memphis, 120 months’ imprisonment.
- Jessie Robinson, age 25, of West Memphis, 81 months’ imprisonment.
- Detarious Robinson, age 23, of West Memphis, 63 months’ imprisonment.
- Ronnie Sanes, age 35, of West Memphis, 96 months’ imprisonment.
“Operation Delta Crossroads made a tremendous impact on our community,” West Memphis Police Chief Oakes said. “Many of the subjects arrested in Operation Delta Crossroads were extremely violent while they funneled drugs into our neighborhoods. This case is an example of the positive influence that we can have on a community when local, state, and federal agencies cooperate with each other.”
The investigation was conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office, FBI, ASP, and West Memphis Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Peters and Benecia Moore.