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Woman released in Delta Blues corruption case

A woman charged in a federal investigation of drug trafficking and corruption in eastern Arkansas was released from custody on Tuesday, but authorities said they expect more charges to be filed against her.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A woman charged in a federal investigation of drug trafficking and corruption in eastern Arkansas was released from custody on Tuesday, but authorities said they expect more charges to be filed against her.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe released Catina Davis into her father's custody following a federal court in Little Rock. She must stay with her father in Lexa, Ark., on home detention.

Volpe also ordered Davis to stay away from the co-defendants in the case, including Demetrius Colbert, identified by prosecutors as a ringleader of the drug trafficking operation and the father of Davis' two children.

"The evidence that I've heard thus far is Mr. Colbert is a big-time drug dealer, and it would be very surprising to me that you didn't know that. ... At a minimum you're passively letting this go by and subjecting your small children to this," Volpe told Davis at the hearing.

Davis was charged with misprision after prosecutors say she knew about a felony and didn't tell authorities. A federal prosecutor and an FBI agent said at the hearing that they expected more charges against Davis, but did not elaborate on the charges would be.

Davis was among 70 people who were indicted last month as part of "Operation Delta Blues." The probe centered on Helena-West Helena, a Mississippi Delta town plagued by crime and corruption allegations. Five police officers accused of taking bribes were among those arrested.

The findings of Operation Delta Blues are outlined in seven federal indictments that describe Helena-West Helena as the center of a drug-trafficking operation that shipped cocaine, marijuana and crack to parts of at least three states.

An FBI agent testified that Davis and Colbert were inside a Marianna house they lived in when officers served a search warrant at the house. Special agent James Paul Woodie said that shots were fired from the house, injuring an officer who was hit in the leg. Woodie said the evidence didn't indicate that Davis fired the shot.

Woodie said officers found more than $423,000 in cash in the house.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gordon told Volpe during the hearing that he considered Davis a flight risk because of the expected additional charges. Lawrence Davis, her father, said he would employ her at his construction business and would make sure she made it to all of her court appearances.

"She needs to be with her children," he told the judge.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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