LITTLE ROCK—A Newport man has been sentenced to ten years in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm after attempting to sell pipe bombs. Darius Balentine, 28, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky. His codefendant, Wayne Riley, 27, of Pleasant Plains, was sentenced in November and also received the statutory maximum sentence of ten years.
In September 2020, officers conducted a home visit at Balentine’s residence. Balentine was on active supervision with a search waiver on file, and officers had learned that he was in possession of a firearm. While searching the home, officers located a .380 pistol and two CO2 bottles containing gun powder and roofing nails, equipped with fuses and designed as explosive devices.
Multiple witnesses confirmed the explosives belonged to Wayne Riley, who had dropped them off at Balentine’s home a few days prior. Investigators obtained text messages in which Riley stated he had ten pipe bombs and wanted to sell them for $100 each or $800 for all ten.
Balentine and Riley were indicted in July 2021. Riley pleaded guilty in June 2022, and Balentine pleaded guilty two months later. In addition to the sentence of ten years imprisonment, which is the maximum allowed by law, both Balentine and Riley will serve three years of supervised release after their terms of incarceration.
This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Newport Police Department; Jackson County Sheriff’s Office; Arkansas State Police; and Arkansas Department of Community Corrections. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Crews.