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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 28, 2019

Six Leaders of the Conservative Vice Lords/Concrete Cartel Street Gang Sentenced for Federal Racketeering (RICO), Business and Pharmacy Robberies, Firearms and Drug Trafficking Charges

Memphis, TN – Six Leaders of the Conservative Vice Lords/Concrete Cartel Street Gang, a nation-wide street gang with its origin and home base in Chicago, Illinois, were recently sentenced for federal Racketeering (RICO), Business and Pharmacy Robberies, Firearms and Drug Trafficking charges. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney, announced the sentences today.

At trial, the evidence proved the Concrete Cartel and its members operate mainly in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee and North Mississippi and that its leadership consists of a regional/southern leader, a statewide leader, a citywide leader and community/division leaders (Whitehaven, Orange Mound, East Memphis, South Memphis and North Memphis).

Within the organization, there are different areas of responsibilities or roles: Ministers of Command, Chief Violators, Chiefs of Security, Chief Enforcers, Ministers of Literature, Lieutenants and Foot Soldiers. Members rise to these positions through acts of violence, including but not limited to shootings, robberies, and drug trafficking. The Concrete Cartel encourages the robbery of businesses, mainly pharmacies, to take opioids and other Schedule II controlled substances to enrich themselves and the membership through drug trafficking.

The evidence further proved that Davante Turner, 26, a/k/a/"Star," William Pinkney, 22, a/k/a/ "Wild," Markease Alexander, 26, a/k/a/ "Citi," Nernest Nesby, 25, a/k/a/ "Neno," Tondwin Lewis, 26, a/k/a/ "T-Luey," and Ariq Rayford, 22, a/k/a/ "Curry," committed multiple acts of business robberies while using firearms. In the case of pharmacy robberies, they then distributed or sold the opioids or controlled substances on the streets of Memphis and elsewhere.

Along with the RICO charge against them, the defendants were also sentenced for their participation in the following armed business robberies, using firearms:

• July 18, 2015, Davante Levert Turner and others robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 786 N. Germantown Parkway, Memphis, Tennessee. During this robbery, Turner and others took the following drugs from the business: Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Methylphenidate.

• February 15, 2016, Ariq Rayford and others robbed the Walgreens Pharmacy at 4653 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, Tennessee. Rayford attempted to take Roxicodone drugs from the business.

• April 30, 2016, Nernest Nesby and others robbed the Mojo Vapors at 6522 Quince, Memphis, Tennessee, taking money and merchandise from the business.

• April 30, 2016, Nernest Nesby and others robbed the Exxon Mobil Gas Station at 6021 Mt. Moriah, Memphis, Tennessee, taking money from the business.

• April 30, 2016, Nernest Nesby and others robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 6620 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee, taking money from the business.

• May 1, 2016, Nernest Nesby and others attempted to rob the Circle K at 7195 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee.

• May 1, 2016, Nernest Nesby and others robbed the Exxon at 6455 E. Shelby Drive, Memphis, Tennessee, taking money from the business.

• July 22, 2016, Markease Alexander and others robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 786 N. Germantown Parkway Road, Memphis, Tennessee. During the robbery, Alexander and others took the following drugs from the business: Oxycodone, Oxymorphine, and Oxymorphone. Lashawn Shannon distributed the drugs for Alexander and others.

• November 1, 2016, Markease Alexander and others robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 2115 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Alexander and others took the following drugs from the business: Oxycodone and Acetaminophen, Dextroamphetamine, Oxycodone, Methylphenidate, Lisdexamfetamine, and Oxycodone Hydrochloride.

• July 5, 2017, Davante Levert Turner, Tondwin Lewis, and William Pinkney robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 6620 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee. Turner, Lewis and Pinkney attempted to take Roxicodone drugs from the business.

Each defendant was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker, as follows:

• Ariq Rayford was sentenced on October 18, 2019, to 140 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years supervised release;

• William Pinkney was sentenced on September 4, 2019, to 160 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release;

• Tondwin Lewis was sentenced on September 27, 2019, to 220 months imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release;

• DaVante Turner was sentenced on October 22, 2019, to 240 months imprisonment followed by 5 years supervised release;

• Markease Alexander was sentenced on October 23, 2019, to 264 months imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release;

• Nernest Nesby, was sentenced on September 26, 2019, to 481 months imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Dismantlement of criminal gangs is a top priority of this office and the Department of Justice, and this case represents the collaborative efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement to target several significant violent leaders and participants in the Conservative Vice Lords organization. As a result of these sentences, the Concrete Cartel has been decimated, and violent gang members will be rightly punished and removed from the streets for decades. We are taking the fight to the gangs in West Tennessee, and we are relentless in our resolve."

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force and theMulti-Agency Gang Unit (MGU) of the Memphis Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Whitmore and Raney Irwin prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Affairs (901) 544-4231 Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov
Updated October 28, 2019