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articles on the Operation Delta Blues case. For the current quarterly circuit court term, more than fugitive cases with active failure-to-appear warrants had not been entered into the state database. Some of these fugitives used the time they should have been spending in prison, or at the county jail awaiting trial, to build a sophisticated drug-trafficking ring that dealt hundreds of pounds of cocaine and marijuana in the impoverished Arkansas Delta. One such case involved accusations that an area pastor had raped a year-old girl, the newspaper found.
The blanket practice of not entering warrants poses a danger to other law-enforcement officers and adds to the already haphazard handling of other warrants in Phillips County, some of which federal investigators uncovered last fall at the Helena-West Helena Police Department. Under a new chief, the city department has spent the past several months cleaning up its warrant system. But the coming changes in handling fugitive warrants address only one element of dysfunction within the Phillips County court system.
The newspaper found the problem when it investigated the backgrounds of those arrested in a federal drug-trafficking sting called Operation Delta Blues. They also rounded up five police officers charged with taking bribes. Over six months, the newspaper conducted extensive interviews with key county and city officials and obtained more than 5, s of documents from Phillips County courts, law enforcement agencies and others. Steeped in Civil War history and known for its blues musicians, Helena-West Helena Find Marvell Arkansas sex partner long fascinated travelers who go to the Delta.
The city still boasts a variety of architecture, from beautifully restored Queen Annes and Craftsman bungalows to the Gothic-Revival-style Centennial Baptist Church downtown. By day, residents marveled at the flagrant manner in which the kingpins operated, driving flashy vehicles through town and bragging about the power they held over the city.
By night, neighbors listened to gunfire and fretted as cars lined up at the homes of neighborhood drug dealers. As it turned out, a hub of criminal activity was AC Customs, a purported auto shop operated by Trice and Leon Edwards. Trice, 28, spent his days cooking drugs, arming his middlemen, brokering deals and arranging deliveries until his arrest last year.
Documents obtained by the newspaper showed that, when federal agents arrested him in OctoberTrice should already have been more than a year into a state prison term. He also put some local law enforcement officers on his payroll. Further documentation obtained by this newspaper shows Trice also was wanted for more than two years on a fugitive warrant issued on Feb.
But the appeals-court order and the fugitive warrant went unserved and without entry into ACIC. But he acknowledged he also found that city police had been mishandling warrants when he became chief in September. The FBI had run a warrant check on the informant before agreeing to use the man, and the check turned up nothing, Seale said.
While working for the FBI, the man was later arrested by a desk officer at the Police Department on an active warrant, Seale said. Former Helena-West Helena police Lt. Seale testified that the warrant later vanished. But Kalb has maintained no active warrant existed.
Her federal case is still pending. Nevertheless, federal authorities learned that checking the database was largely worthless when it came to Phillips County warrants. We still have old missing stuff.
Dispatchers and court clerks have worked for months to clean up the mess he inherited, Wallace said. Not entering any warrants - particularly for hundreds of fugitives - poses a danger not only to city police, but also to other law enforcement officers who depend on the Arkansas Crime Information Center to let them know when a traffic stop might involve a repeat felon, violent offender or a fugitive from Phillips County, Wallace said. Brad Cazort, the field services division administrator of the crime database, said officer safety is one reason for having a centralized crime information system; another is keeping the court system running.
The newspaper found more than cases with active failure-to-appear warrants in Phillips County court records. And her office always notifies the sheriff if a judge decides to set a fugitive warrant aside, she added. Phillips County Circuit Court holds four terms a year. Each term is four weeks. Two of those weeks each quarter are dedicated to criminal proceedings.
If the warrant is still there, she removes it, Stillwell said. At the end of each quarterly court term, Stillwell draws up a list of fugitives and gives copies to the sheriff, jail and prosecutor. She began this practice soon after taking office, she said. The system requires that a law enforcement agency be able to confirm at all time that it has a paper copy of an active warrant.
Jarvis Washington, 25, turned up six times while he had an active fugitive warrant out of circuit court, records show. Washington was wanted in a terroristic-act case. He and Trice were accused of shooting at a woman in her car on Feb. Jackson said he saw a white SUV and a silver car speed away. He stopped the silver car, which was driven Find Marvell Arkansas sex partner Ashley Kelly. She said Trice had shot at her. Officers found three shell casings in the vehicle.
A bench warrant was issued Aug. After taking the case, Etherly noted that even though Washington had been in and out of district court for several years, he had never been picked up on the 4-year-old fugitive warrant, Etherly said. All the same, Etherly said, neither the prosecutor nor defense attorneys should have to chase down fugitives. We have too many, hundreds on the adult docket. He also wanted to know if the failure to-appear warrant from was still active.
On Dec. This legal term, known properly as nolle prosequi, is a declaration by prosecutors that they will not pursue a case. They do, however, have a year to refile charges. A warrant was issued June 10,after he failed to show in court on six felony charges. Officers found cocaine, a shoebox of marijuana, electronic scales, a loaded.
Rattler, 28, was arrestedthe same day on two counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of possession with intent to deliver one for cocaine, the other for marijuana ,and single counts of simultaneous possession of firearms and drugs and second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor. Two weeks later, on March 19,he was released from jail on bond.
Formal charges were filed two months later on May 7. Yet Rattler remained free for six years and, according to the federal indictments, stayed active in the Delta drug trade. City police stopped and cited Rattler twice in without arresting him on the warrant, district court records show.
The resulting federal indictments describe Rattler as a repeat customer and dealer during the time he was wanted on the state charges. The indictment specifically cites two instances when an FBI phone tap picked up Rattler setting up a drug deal - once on March 15,at p. Witnesses told police they saw Rattler shoot Watkins, and that he forced others at the scene to give him a ride as he fled, according to court records.
In the autumn ofCalvin Frierson, then 48,was the well-known minister of two churches in Phillips County.
Yet when he was charged with the rape of a year-old girl and deemed a fugitive by the circuit court, no one ever served him with a warrant. As a result, the case stalled for several years before a judge dismissed it because of the delay. The law allows prosecutors a year to take a case to trial, though that time can be extended for certain delays, such as continuances requested by the defense. The girl told investigators that Frierson, her pastor at Second Baptist Missionary Church in Lexa, had raped her on four separate occasions after offering to take her to choir practice.
He was formally charged on Nov. Nearly two years later, onAug. Wilson, filed a motion to dismiss for violation of the speedy-trial provision. In the motion, Wilson noted that the bench and fugitive warrants for Frierson had never been served. Then, on April 12,Circuit Judge L.
White is not seeking another term. While paying for employees is the largest cost of having ACIC, the expense of installing the system runs in the hundreds of dollars per month. In addition, each agency is charged a little more than 4cents every time it runs a name through the system. Agencies without their own terminals can house fugitive warrants at whichever agency agrees to let them use their terminals, Cazort added. That was Find Marvell Arkansas sex partner tool that was available almost early on.
White said he realizes that if the fugitive warrants had been entered into ACIC, the outcome of many city traffic stops would have been different, including those involving Trice. And the cases would have been reactivated. The shop is across the highway from a junior high school.Find Marvell Arkansas sex partner
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