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Jurors deliberating in Operation Delta Blues trial

Jurors are now deliberating in the case against a former Helena – West Helena police officer accused of accepting money in exchange for protecting drug shipments as part of the “Operation Delta Blues” investigation that rocked the southeastern Arkansas town.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Jurors are now deliberating in the case against a former Helena – West Helena police officer accused of accepting money in exchange for protecting drug shipments as part of the “Operation Delta Blues” investigation that rocked the southeastern Arkansas town.

Former police officer Marlene Kolb faces six counts in all – two each for attempted extortion, attempted drug possession and money laundering.

Four of the five police officers indicted 14 months ago in Operation Delta Blues avoided trial and pleaded guilty.

Only Marlene Kalb is taking her chances with a jury.

In closing arguments today, federal prosecutors told the jury Kalb willingly used her position as a police officer to escort what she thought to be cocaine through Helena – West Helena in exchange for $500.

In fact, she was working with a convicted felon turned FBI informant which led to the indictment of five public officials for harboring drug crime in the town of 14,000.

Kalb says she thought she was escorting motorcycle parts through town, not cocaine.

But recorded phone conversations played for the jury show the informant talking to Kalb about cocaine.

Assistant US Attorney Michael Gordon told jurors their informant, despite his criminal past, was paid $25,000 for his work in Operation Delta Blues.

Gordon says it was a small price to pay to try and free a town from public corruption and drug dealers.

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