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March 16, 2012

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today that former Phillips County Deputy Sheriff Winston Dean Jackson, a defendant in Operation Delta Blues, entered a plea of guilty before U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody in Case No. 4:11CR00209-19 JLH.

Winston Dean Jackson entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, as set forth in Count One of the October 4, 2011 indictment. The United States dismissed the remaining counts against the defendant (Counts 53 and 54, both charging the use of a telephone in commission of a drug trafficking crime). Jackson faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of no less than 5 years and a maximum penalty of up to 40 years, a term of supervised release of at least four years and up to life, and a maximum fine of $5,000,000. While various factors, including possible defense objections, may influence the ultimate sentence, the United States has tentatively calculated the defendant’s guideline range as 70-87 months.

Beginning no later than January 2010, and continuing through October 2011, in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, Winston Dean Jackson, a Phillips County Deputy Sheriff, was aware that Sedrick Trice and Leon Edwards were distributing cocaine, crack cocaine, and/or marijuana, out of AC Customs located at Highway 49 and Business 49, and elsewhere, in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Jackson, in his capacity as a law enforcement officer, assisted and protected Sedrick Trice, Leon Edwards, and their associates in exchange for cash payment, thus facilitating Sedrick Trice and Leon Edwards's distribution of illegal drugs, including at least 500 grams of cocaine. On March 18, 2011, Jackson warned Sedrick Trice and his associates that the Arkansas State Police were coming to AC Customs to execute an arrest warrant on an individual at AC Customs, allowing Trice and his associates to hide any illegal drugs and guns currently at AC Customs and permitting the individual with the outstanding warrant to flee.

Jackson also used his law enforcement status to protect Sedrick Trice Leon Edwards, and their associates for payment, by:

  • Ensuring that a warrant related to assault charges against Sedrick Trice disappeared before prosecution could be initiated;
  • Representing that he intervened on behalf of Sedrick Trice on March 8, 2011, when Arkansas State Police arrested Nicholas Harvey, aka Duke, with crack cocaine and a firearm during a traffic stop of Sedrick Trice and Nicholas Harvey;
  • Attempting to get an individual released from Phillips County jail on a non-drug related charge at Sedrick Trice's request; and
  • Advising Sedrick Trice and other associates that they should not conduct their illegal drug activities so openly.

Of the five law enforcement officers indicted in October 2011, four have pleaded guilty: Robert Rogers, Robert Wahls, Herman Eaton, and Winston Dean Jackson. All four are detained pending sentencing. The remaining law enforcement officer, Marlene Kalb, is currently detained and awaiting trial in Case No. 4:11CR214-2 JMM (scheduled trial date: April 16, 2012). Kalb is charged with two counts of attempted interference with commerce by means of extortion, three counts of attempt to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and two counts of money laundering.

An indictment contains only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, DEA, IRS, ATF, and ASP. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Peters, Benecia B. Moore, and Michael Gordon.

(HWH WDJackson Plea AgreementAdobe Icon Image)

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Christopher R. Thyer

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