Vacha Vaughn, a high ranking member of the Craig Petties drug organization, was sentenced Friday, Feb. 8, to 36 years and six months in prison on a federal drug conspiracy conviction.
Vaughn is the fourth defendant in the largest drug case ever brought in Memphis Federal Court to be sentenced by Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays.
Vaughn’s position in the violent multi-state drug organization with direct ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico was unique.
He was robbed by men dressed as police officers in 2004, which prompted the organization to order the murder of Latrell Small who was shot to death in 2004 along with Kalonji Griffin by Clarence Broady, a “contract killer” for the organization.
Broady testified about the killings during last year’s federal court trial of Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis, the only two of those charged in the case who did not plead guilty. They were both convicted of federal racketeering and drug conspiracy as well as murder for hire charges and are awaiting sentencing.
Three years after the revenge killings, Vaughn was suspected of cooperating with federal authorities investigating the organization and was ordered killed but the murder was not carried out.
Vaughn, meanwhile, played a role in the 2006 kidnapping of Marcus Turner, who was shot to death and his body dumped by the side of a road in Olive Branch after he had been held for several days.
Petties, who ran the drug organization for six year from Mexico after fleeing Memphis in 2002 as investigators closed in, ordered Turner held as the organization tried to find out who stole $4 million worth of cocaine. Petties, according to testimony from several witnesses during the Lewises trial, eventually concluded Turner knew nothing about the theft but ordered him killed anyway because he knew too much about the organization.
Vaughn has maintained that while he delivered Turner to those in the organization who later killed him, he didn’t know they intended to kill him.
Vaughn pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy in December 2007.