Published on August 27th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Memphis Drug Kingpin Sentenced to Nine Life Terms
Memphis drug kingpin Craig Petties will be in prison for the rest of his life for heading a violent drug organization with direct ties to a Mexican drug cartel that sold millions of dollars worth of drugs in a multi-state area centered in Memphis from 1995 to 2008.
Petties was sentenced Thursday, Aug. 22, by U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays to nine life prison sentences and 165 years in prison with all of the sentences to run concurrently.
Some of the charges had a maximum life sentence and Mays imposed the maximum sentence for them and for other charges including five years for having a homemade weapon in his prison cell at Memphis Federal Correctional Institution.
His attorneys did not argue in open court for a reduction in his sentences. But they and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard met with Mays privately in his chambers before the sentencing hearing.
Earlier hearings this month saw his attorneys making the case that Petties had cooperated with the investigation and should receive a lesser sentence for that cooperation. Pritchard argued then the cooperation only corroborated what other members of the organization had already told authorities when they entered guilty pleas before Petties.
Parts of the case, including Petties’ guilty plea, have been sealed or conducted in court sessions closed to the public. The guilty plea wasn’t revealed until more than a year later.
The counts Petties admitted to in the federal indictment that underwent six revisions over the years from its original 2002 single count included the murders of four of the six people whose murders were detailed in the charges. He pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, murder in the aid of racketeering, kidnapping in the aid of racketeering and murder for hire conspiracy.
Petties made a brief statement before he was sentenced, turning to a courtroom gallery that included family members such as the mother of one of the six people he and those in his organization were accused of killing.
Mays said Petties had accepted responsibility for his crimes with the guilty plea.
U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton termed the Petties organization “the most notorious, most violent, largest drug organization in the state of Tennessee.”
He wouldn’t comment on information from sealed hearings that might indicate other crimes and said his office is always looking for leads on other crimes.
“Our work is undone, but this is a day that we believe justice has been done,” Stanton said after the hearing.
Source: memphisdailynews.com “Memphis Drug Kingpin Sentenced to Nine Life Terms,” August 27, 2013.