Two more defendants charged in a corruption and narcotics investigation in eastern Arkansas pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug-related charges.

Two more defendants charged in a corruption and narcotics investigation in eastern Arkansas pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug-related charges.

Leon Edwards, one of the leaders of a drug ring in the Mississippi Delta town of Helena-West Helena, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in federal court. Prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to 22 years in prison and agreed to drop the other charges against him as part of his plea deal.

Edwards, 34, will be formally sentenced at a later date, as will Russell Taylor, who pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug premises.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining charges against Taylor, too. There wasn't a recommended sentence read aloud for Taylor.

Taylor and Edwards were among the 71 people indicted as part of a probe known as Operation Delta Blues that focused on Helena-West Helena. Five law enforcement officers were indicted in the investigation; four of them have pleaded guilty in the case so far, as have more than a half dozen others.

Prosecutors said Edwards was one of two men who ran a drug-trafficking ring that pumped narcotics to towns in eastern Arkansas and neighboring Mississippi and Tennessee.

As part of his plea agreement, Edwards had to acknowledge that he and a co-conspirator, Sedrick Trice, paid law enforcement officers to look the other way and protect their illegal drug trade.

"Do you disagree with anything set out in the plea agreement?" U.S. District Judge James Moody asked Edwards.

Edwards said he didn't.

Trice pleaded guilty in December to a drug-related charge and a firearms charge. A judge sentenced him earlier this month to four decades in prison.

Prosecutors said Edwards and Trice often obtained cocaine several times a week from one supplier alone. The men also obtained marijuana from a supplier in California and stored and prepared the drugs for distribution or had other people do it for them, prosecutors said.

Edwards and Trice then distributed large quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and other drugs to a number of customers and middlemen in the area and used code words to shroud their operations. A "nine-piece chicken dinner" meant 9 ounces of cocaine. "Football" stood for Xanax. "Popcorn" meant mid-grade marijuana, while "drizzle" meant hydroponic marijuana. A "Biggie Small CD" was 4.5 ounces of cocaine.

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