LITTLE ROCK — The fourth police officer to be sentenced in a federal investigation into drug trafficking and corruption in eastern Arkansas has been ordered to serve 14 months in prison.
Former Helena-West Helena police officer and Phillips County sheriff's deputy Robert "Bam Bam" Rogers was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge James Moody during a hearing in federal court in Little Rock.
Rogers entered a guilty plea to an extortion charge in January in exchange for other charges against him being dismissed. As part of the deal, prosecutors requested a 16-month sentence.
But on Wednesday, prosecutors asked Moody to reduce it by two months because Rogers has provided "substantial assistance" into the ongoing Delta Blues investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters also said it was unlikely Rogers will reoffend, noting he has "learned his lesson."
Rogers addressed the court briefly, breaking down when he spoke of his family in the courtroom and at times wiping tears from his eyes as he spoke. He thanked a federal agent in the courtroom for "treating me human" and apologized to the court for "going through this trouble."
"I don't want to reflect the person brought up in these charges," Rogers said. "Because that's not me."
Rogers was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release after his prison term. Rogers has already served nearly 10 months of the term while awaiting sentencing.
In all, five police officers were among dozens of people indicted last year in Operation Delta Blues, an FBI-led probe into drug dealing and corruption centered in Helena-West Helena and extending into the surrounding region.
The officers charged were accused of guarding drug shipments or protecting drug dealers.
Four of the officers have now entered guilty pleas and received prison terms. Robert Wahls, a former Marvell police officer, was sentenced to two years in prison; former Helena-West Helena officer Herman Eaton got a prison term of 16 months; and former Phillips County Sheriff’s Deputy Winston Dean Jackson was ordered to serve 80 months.
The fifth officer charged in the case, former Helena officer Marlene Kalb, has maintained her innocence and is scheduled to go to trial in December.
By Gavin Lesnick
August 1, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.
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