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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Girlfriend Admits Crime in Attempt to Save Boyfriend; Gets Arrested

LITTLE ROCK—Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Mary Downie, Acting Resident Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), announced today’s arrest of Nicole Blakely, who admitted during a recent trial that she possessed firearms while using illegal drugs.

Blakely, 39, of Little Rock, was arrested on a federal complaint for being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(3). She appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe Thursday afternoon and was detained following her initial appearance.

Last week, during the federal criminal trial of Blakely’s boyfriend, Torrioan Neal, Blakely was called as a witness to testify on Neal’s behalf. The charges against Neal included possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Prior to her testimony, her lawyer informed the Court that he had advised her against testifying; she acknowledged that advice to the Judge, indicated that she understood the potential consequences, and insisted on testifying anyway.

According to the federal complaint charging her, Blakely then testified that she was a regular drug user and that she had purchased all the marijuana the police had found in her house. Blakely stated during the trial that the day law enforcement officers located marijuana and a gun in Neal and Blakely’s residence she had gotten off work at 7:00 a.m. When she arrived home, Blakely testified, she smoked marijuana. She also testified that she was the owner of a pistol the police found in the house.

The jury found that Neal was guilty of possessing the marijuana with the intent to distribute it, despite Blakely’s claims that the marijuana was hers alone. Neal now faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The crime with which Blakely is charged is also punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Assistant United States Attorney Kristin Bryant is prosecuting the case, which is being investigated by the ATF.

A complaint contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the  United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available on-line at
http://www.justice.gov/edar

Twitter:
@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated June 21, 2018