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.
- 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.