Craig Petties Wiki, Bio, Net Worth, Drug Empire & More (2023)

Craig Petties, a notorious drug trafficker, gained infamy for leading a criminal empire in Memphis, Tennessee, during the 1990s and 2000s. He orchestrated a massive drug operation with connections to the Mexican drug cartel. This article delves into his early life, criminal exploits, and eventual capture and conviction. Also Read - Hymie Weiss.

Craig Petties
Craig Petties

Early Life and Criminal Beginnings

  • Born in 1976 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Ever Jean Petties, Craig grew up in poverty in the Riverview neighborhood.
  • Engaged in drug dealing from a young age during the crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s.
  • Nicknamed "Lil' C" due to his short stature and started selling small amounts of drugs.
  • First arrested at 15 for possessing a sawed-off shotgun and later arrested for selling crack and attempted murder.


  • Building the Criminal EmpireAt 18, Petties became a top drug dealer in South Memphis and joined the Gangster Disciples.
  • Expanded drug operations to multiple states, coordinating with traffickers in Mexico.
  • Connected with infamous drug lord Edgar Valdez Villareal, becoming the first black American accepted by a Mexican cartel.
  • Used legitimate businesses as fronts to conceal drug trafficking activities.

Expanding Beyond Tennessee

  • Connections to MexicoPurchased large quantities of drugs, including 200 pounds of marijuana and 22 pounds of cocaine, through Mexican connections.
  • Operated stash houses to store drugs before distribution across multiple states.
  • Smuggled drugs in hidden compartments on tractor-trailers, including using FedEx for some shipments.
  • Directly worked with Mexican suppliers, making millions of dollars per week.

Fugitive Status and Violent Activities

  • After a close encounter with law enforcement, Petties fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution.
  • Hired hitmen to execute revenge on rivals and those who cooperated with authorities.
  • Ordered several homicides, including his cousin and associates, to eliminate threats to his criminal enterprise.
  • Attempted to murder law enforcement officials involved in the investigation.

Capture and Confession

  • After five years on the run, Petties was captured in Mexico in 2008 and extradited to the United States.
  • Made a deal with authorities to reveal details of his empire in exchange for immigration of his youngest children.
  • Secretly pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including drug trafficking, racketeering, and orchestrating homicides.

Conviction and Imprisonment

  • Facing multiple charges, Petties went to trial in 2013.
  • United States district court Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. sentenced him to nine life sentences without parole.
  • Several co-conspirators also received significant prison sentences.
  • Petties currently serves his sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Who is Craig Petties?

A. Craig Petties is a convicted drug trafficker who led a notorious criminal empire in Memphis, Tennessee, with connections to the Mexican drug cartel.

Q. What was the scope of Petties' drug operation?

A. Petties' drug trafficking ring operated in multiple states, including Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas.

Q. How did Petties manage to evade capture for so long?

A. Petties fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution and was protected by corrupt officials and the Mexican drug cartel, making it challenging for law enforcement to track him down.

Q. What led to Petties' eventual capture and conviction?

A. After five years on the run, Petties was captured in Mexico and extradited to the United States, where he ultimately pleaded guilty to multiple charges, resulting in nine life sentences without parole.

Q. How did Petties' criminal empire come to an end?

A. Authorities offered Petties a deal to reveal information about his empire in exchange for immigration of his youngest children to the United States. This led to his capture and subsequent conviction.
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