VOL. 10 | NO. 13 | Saturday, March 25, 2017
March 24-30, 2017: This week in Memphis history
2012: Guilty verdicts in the federal court trials of Clinton Lewis and Martin Lewis, the only two members of the Craig Petties drug organization to go to trial in the largest drug and racketeering case ever brought in Memphis federal court. Each is convicted of multiple drug conspiracy, racketeering and murder-for-hire charges and sentenced to life in prison.
The Lewises are relatively low-ranking members of a multistate drug organization whose center is the Riverside neighborhood of South Memphis. They are assigned to kill rival drug dealers and those within the organization suspected of cooperating with authorities. The trial testimony paints a vivid picture of the larger organization and its disintegration.
Petties, along with his childhood friends, builds an organization that deals directly with the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, importing tons of cocaine and marijuana into the city via truck trailers and sending millions of dollars in drug money back to Mexico. Petties flees to Mexico in 2002 after police discover him in a house with 600 pounds of marijuana. It puts Petties and his organization on the radar of federal drug agents. Petties runs the drug organization from exile for six years before he is captured in Mexico and returned to the U.S. as the cartel splinters violently.
A year before the trial, Petties pleads guilty to federal charges in a sealed court hearing and is later sentenced to multiple life sentences. His attorneys argue that Petties did offer some cooperation short of testifying. But prosecutors say he never provided any significant information they didn’t already know and that he feared for his life if he cooperated in any significant way.
1997: On the front page of The Daily News, Amro Music completes a $1.1 million superstore at 2018 Poplar Ave. that includes a two-story addition. With the opening, Amro carries 20 different kinds of school band instruments. The store also includes space for clinics and school recitals as well as musical window displays that add to a changing streetscape along Poplar east of the viaduct.
1957: Among the new privilege licenses listed in The Daily News, the Fox’s Den at 1298 Madison Ave. The space would later become better known as the Western Steakhouse and Lounge.