FBI: Dozens arrested in Ark. corruption probe

FBI, generic, arrests, handcuffs CBS/AP

Updated 3:47 PM EST

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. - Five police officers who allegedly guarded drug shipments were among 70 people indicted Tuesday in a sweeping federal investigation into corruption and drug trafficking in eastern Arkansas.

The investigation involved officers who are accused of accepting bribes to watch over shipments of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine that moved across state lines, said Valerie Parlave, special agent in charge of the FBI's Little Rock office.

They worked in Lee and Phillips counties and were among defendants listed in seven federal indictments, said Christopher Thyer, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

CBS affiliate KTHV Little Rock reported that the five police officers involved are: Robert Rogers, Marlene Kalb Herman Eaton, Robert Wahls and Winston Jackson.

Thyer said 51 people were arrested during a sweep that involved 800 state and federal law enforcement officers. Five suspects already were in jail and 14 remained at large at the time of his Tuesday afternoon news conference.

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Delta Blues," was continuing Tuesday and authorities said they had received information throughout the investigations "from multiple sources," Parlave said.

"The allegations varied, but it basically had to do with different levels of law enforcement corruption," she said.

Helena-West Helena in Phillips County is about 70 miles southwest of Memphis, Tenn., in the Mississippi Delta, a part of the state that has been plagued by mismanagement and allegations that public money has been misused.

An FBI official tells CBS News that one agent was grazed in the leg in a shooting at one of the arrests.

A U.S. law enforcement source tells CBS News that agents from the ATF, DEA and state and local police assisted with the sweep, which is still ongoing.

Those indicted in the investigation are expected to appear in federal court in Little Rock on Thursday.

Helena-West Helena Police Chief Uless Wallace, in an interview Tuesday morning, said the arrests were "a good thing."

"I'm not going to stand for corruption," said Wallace, who became police chief Sept. 1. "Everybody was duly warned when I took office."

Wallace said the department had problems long before he arrived and that he was "still cleaning up."

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