'Delta Blues' drug kingpin gets life sentence | Arkansas Blog

'Delta Blues' drug kingpin gets life sentence

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Demetrius Colbert, 39, of Marianna was sentenced in federal court Thursday to life in prison plus 10 yeas for a string of drug and firearms violation in the course of operating a Delta drug distribution operation.

He was busted in 2011 in Operation Delta Blues, which targeted drug dealing and the participation of some public officials in the criminal enterprise. One trial remains of the original Delta Blues defendants.

Some law officers were arrested in the undercover operation.

The U.S. attorney's summary of the case follows:


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), announced today that Demetrius Colbert, age 39, of Marianna, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years in prison for his leadership of a drug conspiracy and for firearms violations, including assault on a federal officer. On June 6, 2014, Colbert was convicted following a one-week jury trial of the following offenses in the Superseding Indictment in Case No. 4:11CR00210-1:

Count One – Count Four – Count Five –
Count Twenty-One – Count Twenty-Two – Count Twenty-Three –
Conspiracy to Distribute and to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Crack Cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 846
Use of a Telephone in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, 21 U.S.C. § 843(b)
Use of a Telephone in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, 21 U.S.C. § 843(b)
Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) Assault of a Federal Officer, 18 U.S.C. § 111
Discharging a Firearm in Connection with a Drug Trafficking Crime and a Federal Crime of Violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

At the Sentencing Hearing on February 5, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody Jr. found that Colbert was responsible for trafficking at least 200 kilograms of cocaine and at least 21 kilograms of crack cocaine during the conspiracy period of January 2010 to October 2011. Judge Moody also found that Colbert was and organizer and leader of the drug conspiracy. Judge Moody further found that Colbert committed his offense as part of a pattern of conduct engaged in as a livelihood. Judge Moody applied an enhancement to


Colbert’s advisory sentencing guideline range to reflect that Colbert caused serious bodily injury to a federal law enforcement officer when Colbert fired at agents serving a search warrant at his home in Marianna on October 11, 2011. Judge Moody then sentenced Colbert to life imprisonment plus ten years. As a result of Colbert’s convictions, he forfeited the following property seized from his home and vehicles on October 11, 2011: $424,519 in U.S. currency and jewelry valued at $32,750.

“Every day there are unsung heroes who put their lives on the line to protect and safeguard the citizens of Arkansas,” stated Thyer. “These valiant men and women in law enforcement are dedicated to keeping our cities and towns safe for all to enjoy. Now, because of the efforts of these heros, Demetrius Colbert, a man with total disregard for the lives of others, including law enforcement, has learned the price to pay for his indifference is spending the rest of his life in prison.”

“Demetrius Colbert is a parasite whose contributions to our community include drugs and violence,” stated David T. Resch, Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock, “We appreciate the U.S. Attorney’s steadfast pursuit of justice. Arkansas is a better place with Demetrius Colbert in federal prison.”

The charges stemmed from multiple Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations collectively referred to as “Operation Delta Blues,” which focused on public corruption, drug trafficking, and unlawful firearms activities in the Helena- West Helena and Marianna, Arkansas, areas. The United States Attorney’s Office utilized sixteen court-authorized wiretaps over the course of Operation Delta Blues. Approximately 800 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel participated in the October 11, 2011 arrests.

The Colbert case was investigated by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Arkansas State Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Peters, Benecia Moore, and Michael Gordon.

The sole remaining defendant from the original Delta Blues cases, Milton Johnson, is currently set for trial before Judge Moody in Case No. 4:11CR00209 JM on February 17, 2015.


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