Memphis man convicted of leading cocaine trafficking ring


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man authorities identified as the ringleader of a multimillion-dollar cocaine trafficking ring has been sentenced.

Derrick Hester, 43, was sentenced to 114 months in federal prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The ring imported and distributed more than 100 kilograms of cocaine in West Tennessee and elsewhere, according to information presented in court.

“Operation Cocaine Lover,” conducted from 2012 to 2014, unearthed the crimes.

Twenty other people involved in the ring have already been sentenced.

Hester and another member of the ring, David Arnold, were also involved in money laundering, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A 22nd member of the ring, Antonio Caldwell, is on the run from the law.

All other defendants pleaded guilty and will collectively serve more than 120 years in prison.

Here is the full list of the defendants:

• Derrick Hester, 43, of Memphis, TN: 114 months
• Marcus Brown, 38, of Somerville, TN: Time served
• David Arnold, 34, of Horn Lake, MI: 135 months
• Torey Jackson, 48, of Memphis, TN: 2 years supervised release
• Julius Anthony Weaver, 32, of Memphis, TN: 70 months
• Brian Wallace Stewart, 36, of Memphis, TN: 41 months
• Ahmad Omar Majid, 42, of Atoka, TN: 30 months
• Joseph Bernard Taylor, 40, of Memphis, TN: 51 months
• Marco Dewayne Reed, 37, of Memphis, TN: 37 months
• Toramine Lavorid McKinnie, 35, of Brownsville, TN: 63 months
• William Norman Bass III, 29, of Bartlett, TN: 151 months
• Jacques Terell Bledsoe, 30, of Memphis, TN: 24 months
• John Ivory Bridges, 33, of Jonesboro, AK: Time served
• Javier Lopez Cantu, 49, of McAllen, TX: 87 months
• Amos Turner Jr., 61, of Memphis, TN: 33 months
• Justin Anthony Clark, 36, of Whiteville, TN: 30 months
• Lance Jerome Gaston, 38, of Cordova, TN: 151 months
• Jeremiah Gamble, 32, of Memphis, TN: 151 months
• Alejandro Sanchez, 29, of Brownsville, TX: 78 months
• Jesus Arnoldo Solis, 44, of Brownsville, TX: 144 months
• Humphrey Brooks, 39, of Memphis, TN: 84 months
• Antonio Caldwell, 31, of Memphis, TN: Fugitive