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FIRST TWO DEFENDANTS IN OPERATION DELTA BLUES SENTENCED - Lead defendant sentenced to 40 years in prison

April 18, 2012

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today that United States District Judge James M. Moody sentenced Dempsey Word, age 39, of Helena-West Helena to 200 months and Sedrick Trice, age 28, of Helena-West Helena, to 40 years in prison for their roles in a drug distribution operating out of Helena-West Helena.

“With these first two sentences in Operation Delta Blues, the citizens of Helena-West Helena know that these two drug dealers will be off the streets for a very long time,” stated Thyer. “They can continue to rebuild a safe community for their families without fear of continual drug-related violence. Helena-West Helena will be a city that demonstrates the resilience of the people of Arkansas to take back their city from the hands of criminals.”

Word entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance on January 19, 2012. Trice, the leader in the drug conspiracy, entered a plea of guilty on December 21, 2011, to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Both were originally indicted October 4, 2011, and faced a life sentence. With Dempsey’s plea, that was reduced to a maximum of 40 years.

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 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.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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