Gangs in Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis, Tennessee serves as the Southern headquarters for gangs in the United States.[according to whom?] According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, there are approximately 182 gangs with 8,400 gang members in the county.[1]

Major gangs like Gangster Disciples, Crips, Bloods and Vice Lords have a strong presence, with a growing presence of Latino gangs like La Raza Nation, MS-13, Mexican Mafia, Latin Eagles, Maniac Latin Disciples and Latin Kings.[2] In 2010, 26 gang members faced deportation after they were arrested with ties to the Vatos Locos and Sureno-13 gangs.[3]

Gangs in the Memphis area are concentrated in high crime neighborhoods like Hollywood, Hickory Hill, Parkway Village, Westwood, Raleigh, Frayser, Orange Mound, Whitehaven and Binghampton; but their presence is also felt in the suburbs of Tipton County, Tennessee,[4] and DeSoto County, Mississippi.[5]

After a series of gang related robberies at Tom Lee Park on the river bluff in downtown Memphis, the Memphis Police Department said that "they often feel powerless to control these out-of-control teens."[6] In May 2013, high school students warned Memphis City Schools against a proposed school merger of Booker T. Washington High School and Carver High school. "It's like putting the Crips and Bloods together in a national convention."[7]

Cops in gangs[edit]

In 2012, 22 officers of the Memphis Police Department were arrested for being gang members.[8] And in 2013, Memphis City Council and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton cut funding for Blue CRUSH, the gang division of the Memphis Police Department.[9]

Sex trafficking[edit]

In 2013, The FBI arrested Gangster Disciples Folk Nation members[10] on sex-trafficking charges and forced child prostitution.[11]

Famous Memphis gang activity[edit]

A member of the Gangster Disciples and allegedly the biggest drug dealer in the history of Memphis, getting drugs directly from Edgar Valdez Villarreal of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel and funneling millions of dollars to the Black Mafia Family.[13] In 2011, he pled guilty to 23 counts of violent crime and racketeering after working with the Sinaloa Cartel to build a drug trafficking empire in 5 states.[14][15]

In mainstream culture[edit]

Music styles that originated from Memphis gangsta rap culture include Southern hip hop and crunk, made famous by Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat, and Hypnotize Minds. In the 2000s, the music genre gained acceptance after winning an Academy Award for the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle and Flow.

Gangsta Walking entered the mainstream culture when Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma collaborated on an interpretive performance of "The Dying Swan" in 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ludlow, Candice (November 2, 2011). "Think Gangs Are Only In Memphis' Poorest Neighborhoods? Think Again". WKNO FM. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Orozco, Jackie (August 21, 2011). "Latino Gangs Growing in Memphis". LocalMemphis. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  3. ^ ICE works with local law enforcement to arrest 26 gang members in Memphis
  4. ^ "Gangs are making their way to the suburbs". America Now News. 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mississippi School District To Clarify Gang Policy As Part Of Settlement Of ACLU Lawsuit". American Civil Liberties Union. February 9, 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Hall, Sabrina (April 23, 2013). "Police Say Teens Hard to Control In Mob Robberies". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Orozco, Jackie (May 1, 2013). "Fear of Gang Wars if Memphis High Schools Merge". LocalMemphis. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Lawless Memphis Police Gang Members Terrorize Memphis Citizens". Cop Block. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Dries, Bill (January 10, 2013). "Blue CRUSH Cuts Point to Larger Divide". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Warren, Beth (August 13, 2013). "Prosecutors: Female defendant bit, punched, scratched and spit at Memphis guards". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  11. ^ WREG3. July 27, 2013 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sentencing set for Craig Petties, head of Memphis-based drug gang with ties to Mexican cartel". Associated Press. July 25, 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Grouchy Greg, Grandmaster (February 23, 2012). "DJ Paul’s Half Brother Craig Petties Linked To BMF". All HipHop News. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  14. ^ Cousins on trial in Memphis as hit men for Sinaloa Cartel and Craig Petties
  15. ^ Connolly, Daniel (June 27, 2010). "Blood Trade: The Story of Craig Petties". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  16. ^ TN Court of Appeals
  17. ^ ESPN
  18. ^ Moszczynski, Joe (August 8, 2011). "Former pro basketball player among 4 Bergen County members of 'James Bond Gang' arrested last week". The Star Ledger. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  19. ^ ESPN
  20. ^ Holliday, Marcus (February 25, 2013). "Gang Member Teams with Klansman to Protest Memphis KKK Rally". LocalMemphis. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 

External links[edit]