Federal Jury Convicts Vice Lord Leader of All Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 16, 2012|
Monique “Money” Smith, 41, of Cookeville, Tennessee, was convicted on all counts of a seven-count indictment by a federal jury in Nashville yesterday, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The verdict was returned by the jury after deliberating for about 3 ½ hours, following a week-long trial in U.S. District Court. Smith was indicted in September 2011 and charged with participating in a drug conspiracy, distributing crack cocaine, and various firearms offenses, following a two-year investigation into the Vice Lords, a national street gang operating in Wilson and Putnam Counties and beyond.
“This verdict is a reminder of our tireless commitment to combating criminal street gangs in the Middle Tennessee area,” said U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin. “The conviction of a gang member who operated largely in suburban areas like Cookeville and Lebanon should serve as notice that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners will bring our combined resources to bear anywhere, at any time, when gang members traffic in drugs and carry guns. The message is clear—gang crime will not be tolerated.”
Testimony at trial confirmed that Smith was a high-ranking member of the Vice Lords and was largely responsible for coordinating the gang’s activity within the state.
Smith has two prior serious drug offenses and faces a mandatory life sentence for participating in a drug conspiracy. He faces an additional five years in prison for possessing a gun during a drug crime. Sentencing is set for January 4, 2013.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI; the Lebanon Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Braden H. Boucek and Brent Hannafan.