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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 3, 2017

One Gangster Disciple Sentenced on RICO Conspiracy Charges While Two Other Gangster Disciples Plead Guilty

 

Jackson, TN A Jackson, Tennessee Gangster Disciple was sentenced to 292 months in federal prison. Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentence today.

On July 31, 2017, Daniel Lee Cole, a/k/a "D-Money," 38, was sentenced to 292 months in federal prison for conspiracy to participate in racketeering activities. As part of his plea of guilty entered in December 2016, Cole admitted that he was a past Governor of the 731 region (Jackson, TN) and was also Literature Coordinator. Cole admitted to conspiring to distribute narcotics with the other 15 Gangster Disciples who were included in the indictment.

Cole further admitted to attacking and injuring a rival gang member in 2002; to pointing a handgun at a victim in 2014, while another Gangster Disciples struck the victim with a beer bottle and threatened to kill that victim for witnessing Gangster Disciples criminal activity; and to being involved in an incident where Gangster Disciples assaulted a victim for refusing to recant prior statements made to law enforcement that incriminated a senior member of the gang in 2015. During this last incident, Cole admitted that one of the gang members shot at a vehicle containing the witness and several passengers.

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. The indictment alleges that the Gangster Disciples members and associates participated directly in the criminal activities of the enterprise – including murder,

kidnapping, assault, intimidation of witnesses and victims, narcotics distribution and weapons trafficking.

On the same day that Cole was sentenced, two other Gangster Disciples, Tommy Lee Wilkins, a/k/a "Tommy Gunz" and Byron Montrail Purdy, a/k/a "Ghetto," who were charged in the same indictment, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr., to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Wilkins and Purdy are the third and fourth of the 16 indicted defendants to plead guilty. Wilkins is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable John T. Fowlkes Jr., on November 17, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. and Purdy will be sentenced before the same Judge on December 1, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

This case was investigated by the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; JPD 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’s Offices; Sheriff’s Offices for Tipton, Desoto, Madison, and Fayette Counties; and the Police Departments of Bartlett, Germantown and Columbia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Boswell and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Stringfellow prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

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Updated August 3, 2017