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Gang members indicted for drugs & firearms

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Investigation targeted Vice Lords gang members
operating in Wilson, Putnam & Davidson Counties

NASHVILLE -- A federal grand jury has indicted 17 Mid-state individuals, including 11 members of the Vice Lords gang and their drug suppliers, for their alleged participation in a drug distribution conspiracy and associated violence while illegally possessing firearms, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Joining Martin in the announcement were Keith Moses, assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI-Memphis Division, Nashville Resident Agency; William Benson, assistant director-Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, White County Sheriff Odie Shoupe, Sparta Police Chief Jeff Guth and Tennessee Highway Patrol Capt. Jim Hutcherson.

On Friday, federal, state and local law enforcement agents, armed with search warrants and arrest warrants, began arresting those charged in the indictment. Fifteen of the 17 defendants are in custody. Two remain at large.

Those charged with conspiracy to possess, with the intent to distribute crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana are identified as:

Jessie Lee Allen, aka Jeezy, 24, of Lebanon;
James Bean, aka Little Mighty, 27, of Decherd;
Brad Eliot Benedict, aka Kinfolk, 34, of Lebanon;
Jeffery Jermaine Benson, aka Black, 28, of Lebanon;
Marcus Antwan Carey, aka Forty, 31, of Lebanon;
Ricky Fenn, aka Halfbreed, 27, of Lebanon;
Cameron Vintez Hastings, aka Cat Dig, 26, of Lebanon;
Jermaine L. Jackson, aka Blue, 34, of Lebanon;
Charles Houston Mount Jr., aka C-Red, 29, of Murfreesboro;
Corey Dregis Neal, aka Big Real, 40, of Lebanon;
Raytheon Tyeaze Neal, aka Rathy, 27, of Lebanon;
Christopher Nicholson, aka Chris Lopez, 34, of Nashville;
Sterling Reneva Rivers, aka Little Real, 24, of Lebanon;
Monique Smith, aka Money, 40, of Cookeville;
Orlando Steverson, aka C-Nut, 29, of Lebanon; and
Maurice Thompson, aka Reese, 24, of Nashville.

Allen, Bean, Benson, Mount and Rivers were also indicted on related federal firearms charges.
If convicted, these individuals face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Kevin Dwayne Thompson aka Clump, 25, of Murfreesboro, was indicted on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

This Office has a relentless commitment to targeting, investigating and vigorously prosecuting violent street gangs who choose to operate in Middle Tennessee communities, Martin said. We are confident of the ability of our law enforcement partners to identify and penetrate even the most careful and well organized gangs in this area.

According to the indictment, the object of the conspiracy included, among others, the acquisition of large quantities of controlled substances, including, but not limited to, cocaine, and marijuana, for distribution in Middle Tennessee.

The manner in which the alleged conspiracy was conducted included actual and attempted acts of violence including murder, attempted murder and assault to protect the gang's criminal operations.

The indictment also alleges that members of the conspiracy and their associates robbed rival drug dealers of controlled substances and proceeds derived from the sale of controlled substances, promoted a climate of fear through violence and threats of violence and used and threatened to use physical violence against various individuals.

Jeffery Benson and Sterling Rivers remain at large. Anyone having information on their whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 232-7500 or your local law enforcement agency.

The investigation was a joint operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lebanon Police Department, the Wilson County Sheriffs Office, the Sparta Police Department, the Cookeville Police Department, the White County Sheriffs Office, the Putnam County Sheriffs Office, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Braden H. Boucek.

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