U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Tennessee
Western District of Tennessee
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2012
Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney
Contact: Brenda Sims
Armed Home Invasion Group Member is Convicted in Federal Court of Drug Conspiracy and Firearms Charges
Memphis, TN – Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, and Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Nashville Field Division, announced today that on Friday, July 13, 2012, a federal jury convicted defendant Derek Lucas on drug conspiracy and firearm charges in the Western District of Tennessee.
Lucas and four others (Derrick Dowdy, Charol Neal, Darnell Wallace, and Aric Scott) were charged in February 2011 with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, as well as possession of multiple firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). A violation of § 846 carries a potential penalty of not less than ten years and not more than life imprisonment, as well as a potential fine of $10,000,000 and five years supervised release. A violation of § 924(c) carries a potential penalty of not less than five years and not more than life imprisonment, as well as a potential fine of $250,000 and five years supervised release.
According to court testimony, an undercover ATF agent approached Lucas and others posing as an out-of-town drug courier who was disgruntled with certain drug dealers. Lucas and the others readily agreed to join a plot to utilize firearms to rob the drug dealers of over five kilograms of cocaine and money. This proposed robbery was in fact a ruse created by the undercover agent. Ultimately, Lucas and the others were arrested on February 1, 2011, while in route to commit the robbery. Officers recovered the following weapons from Lucas and the others: (1) a loaded Bryco Arms .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol; (2) a loaded Glock .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol; (3) an unloaded Smith & Wesson 9mm caliber semi-automatic pistol; and (4) a loaded Romarm/Cugir, Model SAR-1, 7.62 x 39mm caliber rifle. Of note, the Romarm/Cugir, Model SAR-1, 7.62 x 39mm caliber rifle was equipped with a high-capacity drum magazine, which was loaded with approximately fifty-seven rounds of ammunition. Additionally, officers recovered a separate Smith & Wesson magazine, which was loaded with twelve (12) live rounds of 9mm caliber ammunition.
As a result of Lucas's conviction, he now faces a potential life sentence under § 924(c) due to his extensive and violent criminal history. Lucas's co-defendants have pled guilty and are also awaiting sentencing.
"We are pleased by the jury's verdict, which should send an emphatic message to those engaged in violent crime in our communities: you will be caught, vigorously prosecuted, and brought to justice," said United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III. "We will continue to work side-by-side with our law enforcement partners to ensure violent criminals are held accountable and pay the price for their actions."
"Those who insist on being involved in armed drug trafficking and looking for opportunities to commit a home invasion or other violent crime can expect the same results as Lucas. In the near future he will likely begin serving a life sentence in federal prison with no parole," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Glenn Anderson." ATF's local VCIT and our law enforcement partners are steadfast in working investigations like this one. We will continue to work to prevent violence, hold offenders accountable and make Memphis a safer place," added Anderson.
This case was headed by the ATF, Memphis Field Office, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration Memphis Regional Office, the Memphis Police Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jerry R. Kitchen and Daniel T. French.