I’ve been picking up a scrap or two of continuing buzz about Operation Delta Blues, the massive federal operation that produced indictments naming 70 people on drug, gun, corruption and other charges, including five Helena-West Helena police officers. (Above, Valerie Parlave, the FBI special agent in charge in Little Rock, is appealing for tips through social media.)
As promised, the work continues, I’ve learned. The day wasn’t over yesterday before investigators had fanned out to Delta courthouses to talk to deputy prosecuting attorneys and other court officials about dismissed cases, procedures for nolle prossed cases, handling of drug foreiture money and other actions where undue influence might be evident.
Speculation is high about a defense attorney supposedly targeted as a source of police payoffs and what two years of wire taps might yield by way of evidence not yet publicly released.
One lawyer notes that defendants who choose to go to trial likely will do so in the federal court in Helena-West Helena. The Marianna rape trial that ended in
acquittal a hung jury for convicted killer Curtis Vance despite strong DNA evidence is a ready example from the same state judicial district that hometown juries aren’t always receptive to prosecution cases.