LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One of the key players in the Operation Delta Blues drug-trafficking ring tells a federal judge Wednesday that he's now guilty.
We're talking about 27-year-old Sedrick Trice. He's accused of being one of two ringleaders in the huge drug trafficking case out of Helena-West-Helena. Investigators called it Operation Delta Blues, the news breaking on it back in October.
Sedrick Trice and his public defender came before Judge James Moody in federal court Wednesday and basically admitted to a leading role in all this and waiving his right to a trial.
He entered a plea agreement (pdf) where he pled guilty to two charges, involving a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and having a firearm to aid a drug trafficking crime.
Prosecutors dropped 13 other counts against Trice. U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer says they did that since Trice named numerous other players and those 13 charges weren't as important given Trice's agreement to a 40-year prison sentence.
"I think that Trice being at least one of the two people being at the top of the Helena West Helena case is extremely important both to this investigation and to the people of Helena knowing that Mr. Trice is going to be an older gentlemen, shall we say, before he ever gets out of prison," Thyer said.
There are some pretty interesting admissions from Trice in the plea deal.
He admits that he, and others on his behalf, stored, prepared and distributed not only cocaine across Helena West Helena and beyond, but also crack cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Trice admits he "cooked the cocaine into crack cocaine at least twice a week and sometimes twice daily." He also admits to possessing a Glock 40 caliber pistol and paying police officers to protect his illegal drug ring.
As to how it all worked, Trice and his partner used mobile phones to carry out their business and coded language like "Hard" for crack cocaine and a "9-piece chicken dinner" for nine ounces of cocaine.
No date's been set yet for the formal sentencing but again the plea agreement does call for 40 years in prison. Thyer says they were looking at life in prison if Trice hadn't named so many other players in the agreement.
There was no comment from Trice's family at the courthouse and his public defender Lisa Peters didn't return our phone calls for comment after the plea deal was reached.