NASHVILLE – The final six defendants in a RICO conspiracy operating out of Clarksville, Tennessee, were sentenced last week in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee. This multi-year investigation resulted in federal charges against 32 gang members and associates, including 12 in this RICO indictment.
For more than a decade, Gangster Disciples members engaged in drug trafficking, intimidated witnesses to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement, protected the gang’s drug territory, financed the drug trafficking enterprise, and targeted members of rival gangs and others through murders, attempted murders, and other shootings.
Those sentenced this week include Maurice Burks, 36, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 35 years in prison; Brandon Hardison, 36, of Nashville, Tenn. ‒ sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison; Lamar Warfield, 34, of Guthrie, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison; Elance Lucas, 33, of Guthrie, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 19 ½ years in prison; Lawrence Mitchell, 38, of Clarksville, Tenn. ‒ sentenced to 10 years in prison; and James Luke, 36, of Clarksville, Tenn. ‒ sentenced to 8 1/3 years in prison.
As outlined in Court records, members of this gang planned and carried out murders and numerous shootings and assaults in the Clarksville area. These convictions, which were the product of trial verdicts and/or guilty pleas, notably included convictions related to four cold-case homicides in Clarksville: the murder of a Bloods gang member in 2012; the murder of a Gangster Disciples associate, and the related murder of his girlfriend, who was a witness to the murder, in 2012; and the murder of a person who had “disrespected” members of the Gangster Disciples at a party in Guthrie in 2014. Several of these defendants also held local and regional positions of authority in the gang. Their arrest and prosecution resulted in the dismantling of the gang’s leadership structure in middle Tennessee.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; the Clarksville Police Department; the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office; the Murfreesboro Police Department; the Gallatin Police Department; the Kentucky State Police; the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force; and the Hopkinsville, Kentucky Police Department participated in this decade-long investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader of the Middle District of Tennessee, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shauna Hale of the Middle District of Florida, and Trial Attorneys Ivana Nizich and Gerald A. A. Collins of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.