Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2nd Arkansas police officer pleads guilty in Operation Delta Blues drug and corruption case

A suspect is led from the Federal Courthouse in Little Rock after a hearing involving suspects in the Operation Delta Blues case.

January 26, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The second of five Arkansas law enforcement officers accused of accepting bribes and looking the other way while drug traffickers shipped marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs throughout the region pleaded guilty to extortion and money laundering Thursday.

Federal prosecutors in Little Rock agreed to drop the remaining charges against former Marvell Police Officer Robert Wahls in exchange for his guilty plea.

Prosecutors also agreed to recommend a two-year prison sentence for Wahls. A judge will decide whether to heed that recommendation during formal sentencing May 30.

Wahls is one of five law enforcement officers — out of 71 people — indicted in an investigation dubbed Operation Delta Blues. The probe, announced in October, focused on corruption and drug trafficking in the Mississippi Delta town of Helena-West Helena.

Wahls' plea comes a week after Helena-West Helena Police Officer Robert "Bam Bam" Rogers pleaded guilty to an extortion charge. Prosecutors recommended a 16-month prison sentence for Rogers.

As part of Wahls' plea agreement, federal prosecutors said he had to admit that he took money for escorting someone posing as a drug trafficker.

Wahls' attorney, Eric Relf Gribble, didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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