In a recent development, a Little Rock man has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for his involvement in two separate drug conspiracies. Desmond Kelley, also known as “Trell,” was handed a 151-month sentence for his role in distributing fentanyl, which will be served consecutively to a 65-month sentence he received for a heroin distribution conspiracy. Kelley had previously been named in a 33-defendant indictment in May 2017, where he was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin. Despite being arrested in that case, Kelley resumed selling drugs after his release on pretrial bond in 2018, this time involving fentanyl. Kelley’s arrest and subsequent guilty pleas have resulted in a total prison sentence of 216 months, accompanied by five years of supervised release.
Two Drug Conspiracies Land Little Rock Man in Federal Prison for 18 Years
The case of a Little Rock man has gained attention due to his involvement in two separate drug conspiracies, leading to his sentencing of 18 years in federal prison. Desmond Kelley, also known as “Trell,” aged 28, has been found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and a separate heroin distribution conspiracy. The sentencing was carried out by United States District Judge Brian S. Miller, who handed Kelley a 151-month prison term for his involvement in the fentanyl conspiracy, which will run consecutively to the 65-month sentence he recently received for the heroin conspiracy. This comprehensive article will provide an overview of the case, the timeline of events, the major players involved, and the efforts by law enforcement and prosecution to combat drug trafficking in Little Rock.
The case against Desmond Kelley began in May 2017 when he was named in a 33-defendant indictment. The indictment charged him with conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, and the use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. Kelley’s partner in the heroin distribution conspiracy was Aaron “Black” Clark, and together, they operated in Little Rock. Kelley would purchase multiple ounces of heroin from Clark and subsequently distribute it in the area.
On May 31, 2017, the FBI arrested Kelley in connection with the heroin distribution case. However, he was released on pretrial bond on January 30, 2018. Unfortunately, Kelley did not cease his involvement in drug trafficking even after his release. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) gathered evidence that Kelley continued to sell drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, to a new group of individuals. As the top supplier in a 17-defendant conspiracy, Kelley supplied significant quantities of fentanyl that resulted in the indictment of multiple individuals.
Kelley’s second arrest took place on October 15, 2019, with the DEA leading the operation. This time, he was charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. On the following day, Kelley pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute between 400-700 grams of heroin in the 2017 case. On October 13, 2020, United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr., sentenced Kelley to a 65-month prison term. Subsequently, on February 1, 2021, Kelley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute between 1.2 and 4 kilograms of fentanyl in the 2019 case.
First Drug Conspiracy Involvement
Desmond Kelley’s first drug conspiracy involvement revolved around the distribution of heroin in Little Rock. His primary partner in this operation was Aaron “Black” Clark. Clark supplied Kelley with multiple ounces of heroin, which Kelley then resold in the area. Kelley played a significant role in the conspiracy by acting as a distributor of heroin and ensuring that the illicit drug reached its intended recipients.
Arrest and Release
The FBI arrest in the first drug conspiracy case occurred on May 31, 2017, when Kelley was taken into custody. However, he was released on pretrial bond on January 30, 2018. During this period, the DEA conducted extensive surveillance on Kelley and collected evidence that showed his continued involvement in drug trafficking. The surveillance and evidence collection by the DEA were crucial in building a strong case against Kelley in the second drug conspiracy.
Second Drug Conspiracy Involvement
Kelley’s second drug conspiracy involvement focused on the distribution of fentanyl. During this conspiracy, Kelley held the position of the top supplier, providing significant amounts of fentanyl to multiple individuals who were also indicted in the case. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid that is much stronger than heroin and can be fatal in small doses. Kelley’s involvement in the distribution of fentanyl further amplified the severity of the charges against him.
Second Arrest and Plea
The second arrest in the case occurred on October 15, 2019, when the DEA apprehended Kelley for his involvement in the fentanyl distribution conspiracy. A day later, Kelley pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to distribute between 400-700 grams of heroin in the 2017 case. His guilty plea in both drug conspiracies served as an acknowledgment of his involvement in the illicit activities and a basis for his subsequent sentencing.
Sentencing and Consequences
Desmond Kelley was sentenced by Judge Brian S. Miller to a combined prison term of 216 months. This includes the 151-month sentence for the fentanyl conspiracy and the previously received 65-month sentence for the heroin conspiracy. Additionally, Judge Miller ordered that Kelley serve five years of supervised release after completing his prison term. It is important to note that there is no parole system in the federal prison system, meaning Kelley will serve the full duration of his sentence.
Law Enforcement and Prosecution
The investigation into Desmond Kelley’s drug conspiracies involved multiple law enforcement agencies working in collaboration. The FBI’s Met Rock Task Force, along with the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) and the North Little Rock Police Department (NLRPD), played a significant role in investigating and apprehending Kelley. The DEA also played a crucial role in the case, especially in the second drug conspiracy. Assistant United States Attorneys Benecia Moore and Chris Givens successfully prosecuted the respective cases against Kelley, leading to his guilty pleas and subsequent sentencing.
The case of Desmond Kelley highlights the serious consequences and legal actions taken against individuals involved in drug conspiracies. His involvement in two separate drug conspiracies, one involving heroin and the other fentanyl, led to his sentencing of 18 years in federal prison. The sentencing, carried out by Judge Brian S. Miller, demonstrates the determination of law enforcement and prosecution to combat drug trafficking in Little Rock. This case serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to protect communities from the devastating effects of illegal drug distribution.