MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twenty-one people are facing firearms, illegal drugs, and conspiracy charges in federal court following a multi-agency violent crime reduction initiative in Memphis.
The indictments are a result of a series of coordinated arrests made following a targeted operation over multiple months, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Tennessee.
“To those who continue to terrorize our neighborhoods, businesses, and threaten the quality of life of our citizens, we have a message for you. If you do the crime,” you will do the time,” said Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis. “This is only the beginning of our no-nonsense approach to those that perpetrate gun violence throughout out city.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) along with the Memphis Police Department initiated the investigation after analyzing crime and gun recovery statistics.
They examined over 5,000 data points collected from the National Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), utilized MPD’s Real Time Crime Center, and tracked 911 calls referencing shots fired. Analysts were able to identify areas in Memphis with the highest amount of firearm-related crime.
ATF opened an investigation into illegal activity at several locations around Memphis and Shelby County based on the analysis. This included the Save a Stop 2 store located at 2757 Kimball Avenue.
The office of District Attorney General Steve Mulroy obtained a court order under Tennessee law to shut down the Save a Stop 2 store as a nuisance and danger to the community. The order was due to the excessive illegal firearm and drug crimes continuously committed on and around the property.
“Thanks to the great work of the ATF and our local law enforcement, we were able to file a nuisance action to shut down a breeding ground of crime in the community which had long degraded neighborhood residents’ safety and quality of life,” said Mulroy. “Because of that and the work by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, residents can now look forward to a safer community.”
According to reports, the joint investigation led to nine indictments or complaints and 21 defendants facing federal charges. Federal agents seized 91 firearms, six of which were outfitted with machine gun conversion devices, also known as “switches.”
Law enforcement officials reportedly seized almost 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, 332 grams of powder cocaine, 210 grams of powder fentanyl, almost 65 grams of crack cocaine, 2,826 fentanyl pills, and 767 MDMA/Meth pills.
“The dozens of charges and arrests announced today represent what federal, state, and local law enforcement can accomplish when we work hand-in-hand to take violent criminals and trigger-pullers off our streets,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.
Some defendants were charged together, but several others were charged individually. Leaders warn that more charges could be coming for criminals.
“Yes, we have more nuisance investigations underway in our office,” Mulroy said.
According to court documents, the following charges have been filed in United States District Court:
- Marvis Harris, 49, Christopher Butts, 41, and Antoinette Ozier, 41, were indicted together on drug distribution charges. In the same indictment:
- Harris and Butts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs as well as distribution of drugs.
- Butts and Ozier were charged as felons in possessions of firearms and for possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Harris was also charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, illegal possession of machine guns, and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Ozier was charged with using a premises for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing drugs.
- Ernell Paige, 45, was charged in an indictment with possessing drugs with intent to distribute and with distribution of drugs.
- Indicted together were Ulandus Mayes, 34, and Christopher Watts, 39, for engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a federal firearms license and for being felons in possession of a firearm. Mayes was additionally charged with distribution of drugs and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Enrique Cardenas-Otra, 41, was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm and for engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a federal firearms license.
- Xavier Ashford, 30, and Marquez Glover, 21, were both charged with distribution of drugs.
- Indicted together were Leedell Otis, 46, Ricky Brooks, 41, and Jeremiah Otis, 34. In the same indictment:
- Leedell Otis and Ricky Brooks were also charged with being felons in possession of firearms.
- In addition, Leedell Otis and Jeremiah Otis were charged with distribution of narcotics, and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
- Justin Bankhead, 33, was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Indicted together were Jamar Anderson, 27, Tijerol Crawford, 33, Raymond Greenwood, 39, Broderick Harper, 26, Benjamin Jones, 28, Octavius McMullen, 32, and Larry Raiford, 58. In the same indictment:
- Anderson, Jones, Crawford, Greenwood, and McMullen were also charged with being felons in possession of firearms.
- Anderson, Jones, Raiford, and Crawford were charged with distribution of narcotics.
- Harper and Jones were charged with possession of a machine gun conversion device.
- Crawford was charged with carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
- Adrian Seymour, 37, was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm, distribution of narcotics, and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.