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Little Rock man indicted in gang violence and drug trafficking investigation ordered detained for trial

by Dale Ellis | May 26, 2023 at 3:20 a.m.

A Little Rock man who was one of 27 people indicted in a wide-ranging investigation into gang violence and drug trafficking in Central Arkansas and was ordered detained for trial by a magistrate judge in November appealed that decision Thursday but may have to wait until next week before learning if he will be allowed to leave jail.

Alfred Leotis Rogers, 63, was arrested in November during a multi-agency sweep that rounded up defendants named in three indictments resulting from investigations by the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rogers was indicted along with 26 others on a variety of charges related to an investigation into the activities of Lodi Murder Mobb, a Central Arkansas-based street gang believed to be responsible for drug trafficking and violent crimes around the state. Rogers was ordered jailed after his Nov. 9 arrest after by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe ruled that his plan for pretrial release was inadequate to ensure he would not flee or pose a danger to the public.

Rogers is charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Fields argued Thursday before U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker that Rogers, despite receiving a commutation of a 1992 life sentence for cocaine trafficking and being released from prison, went back to drug trafficking after his release.

"He gets out, gets a second chance at life," Fields said, "and he goes right back to what he knows how to do."

Rogers' attorney, Eugene Clifford of Little Rock, had proposed Rogers' sister, Vivian Rogers, to act as his third-party custodian. As a third-party custodian she would be responsible for ensuring Rogers' compliance with all conditions of release and for his appearance at all future hearings. Fields objected to the plan, citing Vivian Rogers' presence on a number of recorded wiretaps discussing with her brothers some of the drug trafficking activities they were involved in.

Using transcripts of several wiretapped telephone calls between Rogers' brother and co-defendant Anthony Rogers and others, including Vivian Rogers, FBI Special Agent Jeff Highfill testified that Vivian Rogers was aware of her brothers' illegal activities and had possibly even assisted with a delivery of cash on at least one occasion.

Highfill said in a series of conversations between Anthony Rogers and an unknown man that took place around Sept. 10, 2021, the two men discussed $2,400 the man was supposed to pay Anthony Rogers for drugs that the two arranged for the man to drop off at Vivian's home.

In a conversation a few days earlier, Highfill testified, Anthony and Vivian Rogers discussed a debt owed to Anthony by another brother as well as Anthony Rogers' intention to supply the brother with a pound of marijuana.

"There is reason to believe that Vivian Rogers knew Anthony Rogers was involved in drug trafficking activities?" Fields asked.

"Yes," Highfield replied.

After Highfill's testimony, Clifford stepped out of the courtroom to confer with Vivian Rogers, then stepped back in to announce that she would not testify and that there was a change in the release plan proposal.

Clifford proposed that Rogers be allowed to leave jail on home detention without a third-party custodian to live at a home on Stardust Trail in Pine Bluff, co-owned by Rogers and a daughter. Fields expressed concerns about Rogers returning there "because of the drug trafficking activity that took place while Alfred Rogers was there."

Fields said at one point Michael Rogers, one of Alfred's sons, was living at the home and his father helped conceal drugs belonging to him from police while the son was subject to a search wavier.

"I don't see how sending Alfred Rogers back to that home is in any way going to mitigate his drug trafficking activities," Fields said.

Baker said she would take the matter under advisement and issue a written order soon.

Print Headline: Drug suspect challenges detention order


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