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VOL. 126 | NO. 230 | Thursday, November 24, 2011

Broady Pleads In Petties Drug Case

By Bill Dries

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One of the three remaining defendants in the largest drug case ever brought in Memphis federal court has pleaded guilty to multiple conspiracy charges including racketeering, murder for hire and drug distribution.

Clarence Broady pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday, Nov. 22, before Memphis federal court judge Hardy Mays in a hearing not on the court schedule. Broady is scheduled to be sentenced March 14 by Mays and faces life in prison.

Broady was one of several alleged triggermen in the multi-state drug organization with direct ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico.

The case alleges the murders of six people who were either suspected of cooperating with law enforcement officials investigating the drug ring or who were competitors in the illegal drug trade.

Broady, according to court documents filed in June, had been identified in photo arrays by two potential witnesses including one who identified Broady by the nickname “Killer.”

Broady’s guilty plea leaves Clinton and Martin Lewis as the last of a rotating group of nine defendants over seven sets of indictments from 2002 to 2008 who have not pleaded guilty. The indictments mention more than 40 people – indicted and unindicted.

The Lewises are scheduled to go to trial in January in Memphis Federal Court.

Broady sought a separate trial, claiming he was not charged in all of the murders and that trying him with the Lewises would prejudice a jury against him. Mays denied the motion earlier this month.

Broady specifically pleaded guilty to the murders of Mario Stewart and Latrell Small.

Stewart was killed in 2005 at his home. He had been cooperating with federal agents and had allegedly recorded a suspect talking about the earlier murder of another member of the drug organization.

Small, along with Kalonji Griffin, were killed in retaliation after Small allegedly dressed up like a police officer and robbed Vacha Vaughn of drugs and shot Vaughn in the robbery.

The head of the organization, Craig Petties, pleaded guilty in 2009 to numerous charges in the federal case that outlines the 13-year life of the drug organization that hauled tractor trailer loads of illegal drugs into Memphis and made millions of dollars. The drug organization was built around Petties’ ties to the Gangster Disciples street gang and was based in the Riverview-Kansas neighborhood of South Memphis.

Petties fled to Mexico in 2002 and worked directly with the Sinaloa cartel as well as running the Memphis organization from Mexico before he was captured in January 2008.

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