VOL. 127 | NO. 42 | Thursday, March 01, 2012
Witness Recalls Drug Money Accounting Duties
By Bill Dries
Dana Bradley remembers the day he went to work for the Craig Petties drug organization.
It was May 13, 2006, the day he was planning his wife’s funeral and didn’t have enough money to buy the casket he wanted for her.
His brother-in-law, Ricky Evans, always had a lot of money and Bradley had some idea where it came from. He borrowed the extra money for a better casket and agreed to work it off by helping Evans count money.
Bradley became the closest thing the Petties drug organization had to an accountant and comptroller. He even kept ledgers of the millions of dollars and thousands of kilograms of cocaine he supervised.
Three notebook pages and two palm-sized notebooks were exhibits this week as Bradley testified in the trial of Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis, accused of drug conspiracy, racketeering and murder for hire.
Bradley said he had other full-sized ledgers that he and the others in the drug organization destroyed before he began cooperating.
Because of the ledgers, Bradley is an important witness and link to a time of change and turmoil in the violent multi-state drug organization with direct ties to Mexico.
And because of missing cocaine and missing money in the drug deals, the organization’s leaders began a more complicated process in which drug and money amounts were verified before what had been routine exchanges in Memphis in which amounts were checked later.
Bradley made the arrangements to put up heavily armed men from Mexico and he made the arrangements to buy stash houses. He paid notes on cars for temporary use and then switched up titles regularly. He also arranged to have a car burned after the murder of Marcus Turner but then turned a deal in which one of those disposing of the car got the rims from it and the car wasn’t destroyed.
Bradley testified he kept the ledgers with numbers, nicknames and initials because he was among the early suspects in the theft of nearly 200 kilograms of cocaine from the organization.
Bradley had lied and said he spent the night at the stash house. He didn’t, and when he went to the house the next morning, he said he immediately knew something was wrong when he saw a video game console was gone.
When others quickly settled on Bobby Craft as the culprit, Bradley, through Evans, became the bookkeeper and coordinator for deliveries, expenses, cars and housing – temporary and permanent. His expanded role also came after Evans fled in 2006 to Mexico where Petties and several other higher ups in the organization ran the drug organization.
Bradley didn’t talk to Petties – only to Evans.
Bradley said he didn’t get rich with the lifestyle in which his expenses were paid from the cash flow that came with working out the logistics of the drug organization.
He kept a lot of details in his head that the notes in the ledger were meant to remind him of. In the process, he made up names for many of those he dealt with in addition to the numerous nicknames some of them already had from other sources.
“I watch wrestling, so I call them the Guerreros because they’re Mexicans,” he said referring to a group of Mexicans who came to Memphis heavily armed. “I didn’t know their names.”
Also unlike the other witnesses within the organization, authorities didn’t catch Bradley.
“I wanted everybody to leave me alone,” Bradley testified. “I wanted out.”
He recalled the stress of being with the “Guerreros” in a motel room as they counted money he brought with him in an exchange for drugs. They wouldn’t let him leave until the money was counted there.
“Everybody was happy when the money was all there,” he said, noting that he began to feel it was only a matter of time before they weren’t.
“You’ve got to know when to get out,” Bradley said.
He picked up his children in Memphis one day and drove to Orlando, Fla., and from there to Baton Rouge, La., where his father lived.
“I’m through with the streets,” Bradley recalled telling his father, who helped Bradley with buying a house and putting his children in schools and “to be better.”
Several armed men came to his father’s house and Bradley said he and a cousin armed themselves in response when his father intervened.
“My dad told me, ‘If you pull that trigger, ain’t no turning back. You need to tell what you know,’” Bradley testified this week.
Bradley made an anonymous call to drug agents in Memphis and then called back identifying himself.
Police in Baton Rouge turned Bradley over to Drug Enforcement Administration agents. He is to finish a federal prison sentence for money laundering later this year.