Multiple Life Sentences Handed Down In Bradenton Gang Prosecution
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich this week sentenced six individuals for their roles in wide-ranging racketeering and drug distribution conspiracies that involved seven murders, three kidnappings, multiple firearms and drug offenses, and related criminal conduct. The defendants were found guilty on September 8, 2016, following a three-month jury trial.
U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, James Trusty, Chief of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, and Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Tampa Field Office, made the announcement.
Nathaniel Harris (25), a/k/a “Popo,” was sentenced to four life terms for the murders of Demetrius Cunningham and Calvin Barnes, and racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracy. In addition, he was sentenced to consecutive terms ranging from 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder, armed kidnapping, and drug and firearms offenses.
Napoleon Harris (32), a/k/a “Pole,” was sentenced to three life terms for the murder of Demetrius Cunningham, racketeering, and drug conspiracy. He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Charlie Green (30), aka “Mr. 30N32,” was sentenced to five life terms for the murders of Joseph Evans and Ceola Lazier, racketeering, drug conspiracy, and armed kidnapping.
Jerry Green (30), a/k/a “Jerk,” was sentenced to four life terms for the murders of Ceola Lazier and Carlos Jurado, racketeering, and drug conspiracy.
Deonte Martin (27), a/k/a “Tang,” was sentenced to three life terms for the murder of Brenton Coleman, racketeering, and drug trafficking conspiracy. He also received additional sentences ranging from 10 to 30 years for firearms and drug charges.
Corey Harris (26), aka “James,” was sentenced to 120 years in federal prison for drug trafficking and distribution of crack cocaine.
Nathaniel Harris and Napoleon Harris were also ordered to pay $8,000 restitution to the family of Demetrius Cunningham.
According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants were members of a racketeering enterprise that controlled illicit drug distribution and committed murders for hire in and around Bradenton. From about 2006 through 2014, the defendants were responsible for murdering seven individuals, including one victim who was gunned down at a community center in front of hundreds of children and their parents. The racketeering enterprise attempted to murder an eighth individual who survived, but is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. The enterprise maintained a number of so-called “trap houses” that were used to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, MDMA, oxycodone and marijuana, and used extreme violence to collect drug debts and enforce its control of the drug trafficking in its territory. The enterprise also used threats of violence to prevent members of the community from testifying against its members.
“The sentences handed down this week were just in light of the scars these defendants inflicted on their community. Our thoughts remain with the families of the murdered victims,” stated U.S. Attorney Bentley. “The Department of Justice, working closely with our partners at all levels of law enforcement, will continue to use every available resource to protect vulnerable communities from the scourge of violent crime. We are deeply committed to dismantling violent criminal organizations.”
“A key component of ATF’s mission is reducing violent crime. These sentences represent a fulfillment of a promise that ATF made to this community to stand by them and we will continue to stand by them,” stated Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary of ATF-Tampa Division. “We appreciate the cooperation of our federal, state and local partners to this bring this case to a successful conclusion.”
Twelve enterprise members and co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, firearms, and other offenses in connection with this case.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida investigated the case, with assistance from other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Murray, Natalie Adams and Walter “Terry” Furr of the Middle District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Marty Woelfle of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.