Twelve Members of the Conservative Vice Lords/Concrete Cartel Street Gang Were Indicted for Federal Racketeering (RICO), Business and Pharmacy Robberies, and Drug Trafficking
Memphis, TN – Twelve members of the Conservative Vice Lords/Concrete Cartel Street Gang, a nation-wide street gang with its origin and home base in Chicago, Illinois, were charged in a federal indictment for Racketeering (RICO), business and pharmacy robberies and drug trafficking. Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the indictment today.
The indictment alleges that the Concrete Cartel and its members operate mainly in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee and North Mississippi. Its leadership consists of a regional/southern leader, a state-wide leader, a city-wide leader and community/division leaders in the areas of (Whitehaven, Orange Mound, East Memphis, South Memphis and North Memphis). Within the organization/street gang, 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, robbing, and drug and human trafficking. The Concrete Cartel encourages robbing businesses, mainly pharmacies, to take opioids and other Schedule II controlled substances to enrich themselves and the membership.
Davante Turner, William Pinkney, Markease Alexander, Nernest Nesby, Lashawn Shannon, Tondwin Lewis, Arterrious McCalleum, Travon Jones, Rickey Bell, Ariq Eric Rayford, Clemeko Dewayne Starks Jr., and Darnell Trevon Jordan are charged with committing multiple acts of business robberies while using firearms. The indictment alleges that on occasion the Concrete Cartel robbed pharmacies and would later distribute and sell the stolen opioids or controlled substances on the streets of Memphis and elsewhere. Along with the RICO charge, the defendants were also indicted for their participation in the following business robberies, using firearms:
On July 18, 2015, Davante Turner and others robbed CVS Pharmacy at 786 N. Germantown Parkway, Memphis, Tennessee. During this robbery, Turner and others took the following drugs: Oxycodone, Fentanyl and Methylphenidate.
On February 15, 2016, Ariq Eric Rayford, Clemeko Dewaye Starks Jr., and Darnell Trevon Jordan robbed Walgreens Pharmacy at 4653 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, Tennessee. Rayford, Starks Jr., and Jordan attempted to take Roxicodone drugs.
On April 30, 2016,
Travon Jones, Nernest Nesby and Arterrious McCalleum robbed Mojo Vapors at 6522 Quince, Memphis, Tennessee; Exxon Mobil Gas Station at 6021 Mt. Moriah, Memphis, Tennessee; and CVS Pharmacy at 6620 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee.
On May 1, 2016,
Travon Jones, Nernest Nesby and Arterrious McCalleum robbed Circle K at 7195 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee, and Exxon at 6455 E. Shelby Drive, Memphis, Tennessee.
On July 22, 2016, Markease Alexander and others robbed CVS Pharmacy at 786 N. Germantown Parkway, Memphis, Tennessee. During the robbery, Alexander and others took the following drugs: Oxycodone, Oxymorphine and Oxymorphone. Lashawn Shannon distributed the drugs for Alexander and others.
On November 1, 2016, Markease Alexander, Ricky Bell and others robbed CVS Pharmacy at 2115 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Bell, Alexander and others took the following drugs: Oxycodone and Acetaminophen, Dextroamphetamine, Oxycodone, Methylphenidate, Lisdexamfetamine and Oxycodone Hydrochloride.
On July 5, 2017, Davante Levert Turner, Tondwin Lewis and William Pinkney robbed CVS Pharmacy at 6620 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tennessee. Turner, Lewis and Pinkney attempted to take Roxicodone drugs.
The indictment is the result of an extensive investigation which began in 2015 by federal, state and local law enforcement officials into the Conservative Vice Lords/Concrete Cartel. This investigation entailed the recovery or seizures of thousands of opioids or controlled substances before the defendants distributed the drugs on the streets.
Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney, Western District of Tennessee, said, "Today’s indictment serves to demonstrate the commitment of our office and our law enforcement partners to curtail the onslaught of business robberies and to eradicate the violent criminal element from the Western District of Tennessee. As we have previously stated, gang activity will not be tolerated."
"Gangs will not run our city. We will continue to weed out the criminal elements that surround gang motivated crimes, and we will fully support our state and federal partners in prosecuting criminals to the fullest extent of the law" said Michael Rallings, Director, Memphis Police Department.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Street Task Force and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit of the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Whitmore is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.