United States Attorney Ritz Celebrates Funding Awarded for Legal Services and Improved Court Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence
Memphis, TN – Demario Demont Sprouse, 39, a/k/a/ "Taco," has been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.
According to the superseding indictment, the Gangster Disciples is a highly-organized criminal street gang with nationwide reach. In addition to Tennessee, the gang reportedly operates in more than 35 states. The Gangster Disciples were organized into different positions, including board members, and governor-of-governors who each controlled geographic regions; governors, assistant governors, chief enforcers and chief of security for each state or regions within the state where the Gangster Disciples were active; and coordinators and leaders within each local group.
During the change of plea hearing on June 19, 2019, Sprouse admitted that he was the Chief of Security for a region within the Western District of Tennessee. The superseding indictment to which Sprouse pleaded guilty indicates that, as Chief of Security he was responsible for the security of fellow gang members, providing protection to senior Gangster Disciple members, and providing security and protection during times when law enforcement or rival gangs were exerting pressure on the gang.
Sprouse was among a total of 16 leaders and members of the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang originally indicted in 2016 in "Operation .38 Special" for federal racketeering offenses, including conspiracy to commit attempted murders; robberies; assaults; distribution of large quantities of heroin; cocaine and marijuana; firearms trafficking; kidnappings; intimidation of witnesses and victims; extortion; obstruction of justice; and other offenses in furtherance of the Gangster Disciples enterprise and to raise funds for the gang.
On December 16, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr., sentenced Sprouse to 120 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "We are fighting to reclaim our cities, towns, and neighborhoods from the gangs, and are effectively dismantling their leadership and influence. "Taco" has terrorized the Memphis area with his violence and racketeering, and he will now only have prison food for the next 10 years."
This prosecution was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, and to diminish the violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and violent organizations.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Jackson Police Department Gang Enforcement Team, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 28th District West Tennessee Drug Task Force, 26th, 25th, and 30th Judicial District Attorney’s General Offices, Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, DeSoto, Madison and Fayette Counties, Police Departments of Bartlett, Germantown and Columbia, TN.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth C. Boswell and Annie T. Christoff of the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Shauna Hale of the Criminal Division Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.