Commercial Appeal Article:
Craig Petties is used to being in control.
Before his arrest, the infamous drug lord, believed to be one of the richest and most deadly dealers in Memphis history, had an organization of people who followed his orders or paid the price, sometimes with their lives.
Petties, a high school drop out who grew up in the impoverished Riverside neighborhood in South Memphis, emerged as a multimillionaire and ran an international trafficking empire that funneled hundreds of kilos of cocaine and more than a ton of marijuana from Mexico into Tennessee and other Southern states. Anyone who was perceived as a threat to the business — including one of Petties’ beloved cousins — was silenced with bullets.
Now, through two lawyers, the 36-year-old is angling for control of his court case, a dozen years after his initial arrest.
The man who remained a federal fugitive for five years is asking a judge to force prosecutors to shave time off his sentence because he spared them the expense of a trial by pleading guilty in 2009 to racketeering and murder charges, and because he spilled secrets about other crimes to aid other investigations.
U.S. Dist. Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays is expected to sentence Petties, who faces life in a federal prison, during a hearing Thursday.
Prosecutors are fighting back, arguing during previous court hearings that while Petties has cooperated to some extent, he still isn’t revealing all he knows about murders and other crimes in Memphis or in Mexico.
For instance, Petties claimed he was in bed asleep on April, 21, 2002 when one of his hit men fired 10 shots at Petties’ cousin, Antonio Allen, outside a South Memphis home. Investigators say they’re sure Petties gave the orders to kill Allen, erroneously thinking Allen had become a government witness.
Petties and the hit man served as pallbearers at the victim’s funeral.
Another problem for Petties, because he remained a federal fugitive for years, is that much of what he has said came too late — after his minions disclosed many of the same details about the drug ring to reduce their own sentences.
Through the years, more than 40 Petties’ associates have pleaded guilty and received prison stints, causing members who were friends since childhood to turn against one another.
Many secrets of their underworld still remain hidden in sealed court documents, further protected when Mays closed portions of hearings to reporters and the public. Yet a glimpse has been gradually revealed during the past decade in police reports, hearings and unsealed court records.
Organization members have testified how they followed Petties’ orders to kill an associate who became a key government witness. And police listened in on jail phone calls between drug-ring members who were discussing plans to kill the lead investigators, Abe Collins, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Memphis police detective Therman Richardson.
A jury convicted two of Petties’ enforcers, the only ones who demanded a trial, last year, and both were sentenced this summer to life sentences in federal prisons. A sign of the volatile nature of the drug ring: jurors’ names were shielded even from the judge, and armed deputy U.S. Marshals escorted them from an undisclosed location before and after court each day of the six-week trial.
Spectators, including the mother of a victim who was kidnapped, tortured for days and murdered, watched the trial eight floors below the courtroom in a room protected by an additional security checkpoint and rigged with video conference equipment that never showed jurors’ faces.
Prosecutors had to wait to prosecute one lingering associate, Christopher Hamlett, a childhood friend of Petties who became part of the drug leader’s inner circle. Hamlett, 36, who spent five years in a Mexican prison, was sentenced in Memphis earlier this month. As part of his plea deal, which landed him a 15-year sentence, he connected several murders in Mexico to Petties, Asst. U.S. Atty. David Pritchard said. Those are murders Petties didn’t tell prosecutors about.
A third factor that could have hurt Petties’ chances at a reduced sentence: He has caused problems behind bars.
He was initially held at a federal jail in Memphis, but was caught with a 6-inch shank hidden in the mattress in his jail cell. Even while standing before the judge in December 2010, he tried to minimize the crime — saying it was a piece of “plastic off my tray,” before agreeing with prosecutors’ assertions that it was made of metal and sharpened into a crude knife. Petties was moved to a jail in Atlanta, but prosecutors filed a request, in a document that still remains sealed, to move him. According to a copy of the judge’s September 2012 order, Mays agreed there was “good cause” Petties should be sent to a federal jail in New York, where he was placed in solitary confinement.
Petties, caught by Memphis police with an estimated $300,000 worth of marijuana in 2001, fled the country in 2002. He lived a life of luxury in Acapulco and central Mexico under the protection of his drug suppliers, the violent and powerful Beltran Leyva cartel, and had a personal trainer, chef, maid, nanny, driver and armed security detail. When police in the country pulled him over for any reason, after Petties made a quick call to the cartel, the officers ended up apologizing to him.
Despite landing on the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted list, Petties could avoid capture by keeping on the move and bribing corrupt Mexican officials. But in January 2008 he feared his phone calls were being intercepted so he threw the phone away, preventing any officials from tipping him off.
The military blocked off streets, sent snipers crawling on rooftops of area homes, positioned a helicopter to hover above and stormed Petties’ homes in the upscale suburb of Queretaro, 136 miles northwest of Mexico City. Petties, speaking Spanish, tried to bribe his way free, but was arrested. Four of his children, twin 4-year-old boys and girls ages 10 and 16, were taken to a facility. The children’s mother, Latosha Booker, 35, who was taking their 10-month-old girl to the nanny at the time, eventually returned to the U.S. with her children.
Petties was quickly deported to Houston before being brought to Memphis.
He immediately began to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who initially had considered pursuing the death penalty against him. In exchange for his cooperation, Petties wanted help safeguarding Booker and his children from a vengeful cartel.
Petties pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including ordering four murders, during a secret hearing in 2009. Much of the court case remains sealed.
His sentencing will end the 12-year-old case of a drug-trafficking organization believed to be one of the largest and most deadly in Tennessee history.
At 8:00 this morning, I wondered if I was going to be late. I had to drop the kids off, traffic was heavy and all things Monday were happening. But sure enough at 8:40 a.m., I pulled up on time to Channel 3 Drive, checked my lipstick and hair and ran into the building.
Once called back, I was greeted by the warm handshakes and hugs and sat down with Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman, two of the city’s best reporters to talk about my book, The World in Reverse.
They start off by saying this…
Author Latriva Nelson has topped several of Amazon’s Best Seller lists with her new novel “World in Reverse”.
She spins a nail-biting tale set right here in Memphis. As her hero, a Memphis cop, has to go against everything he stands for to solve a grisly murder case.
Wow. Okay, I’m officially flattered.
I can’t help but smile. I love Memphis, love the idea that Memphians love the book and I’m ready to talk.
You can see the rest by simply clicking the link and checking it out.
I can’t thank WREG-TV enough for their hospitality and highlighting my newest work. 15 books down and 150 to go.
Xoxo and all that jazz.
Latrivia S. Nelson
I’ve heard your requests. You just heard about the books or you’ve just decided to read them, only you don’t know which order. Here’s a guide to help you keep it all together.
The Order to Read The Medlov Organized Crime Family Series:
- Dmitry’s Closet
- Dmitry’s Royal Flush: Rise of the Queen
- Anatoly Medlov: Complete Reign
- Saving Anya
If you like Dmitry Medlov’s character and want to learn more about how he became the Czar of the Underworld, then you should read The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Volume 1-5. This series can be read at any time before, after or during the process of reading the larger books.
Orphaned virgin Royal Stone is looking for employment in one of the country’s toughest recessions. What she finds is the seven-foot, blonde millionaire Dmitry Medlov, who offers her a job as the manager of his new boutique, Dmitry’s Closet. After she accepts his job offer, she soon accepts his gifts, his bed and his lifestyle. What she does not know is that her knight in shining armor is also the head of the Medlov Organized Crime Family, a faction of the elite Russian mafia organization, Vory v Zakone.
Falling in love with the clueless Royal makes Dmitry want to break his coveted code, leave his self-made empire and start a life far away from the perils of the Thieves-in-Law. Only, his brother, Ivan, comes to the Memphis from New York City bent on a murderous revenge.
With the FBI and Memphis Police Department working hard to build a case against Dmitry and his brother trying to kill him, he is forced to tell Royal of his true identity, but Royal also is keeping a secret – one that changes everything.
Who will win? Who will lose? Who will die? Watch all the skeletons as they tumble out of the urban literature sensation Dmitry’s Closet.
Warning: This book contains graphic language, sex, and various forms of violence. However, it will also melt your heart!
Revised Version: March 2010
This book is the first of The Medlov Crime Family Series.
Dmitry’s Royal Flush: Rise of the Queen:
From the popular multicultural author, Latrivia S. Nelson, comes the highly anticipated second installment of the Medlov Crime Family Series, Dmitry’s Royal Flush: Rise of the Queen.
For Dmitry and Royal Medlov, money doesn’t equal happiness. Forced to leave Memphis, TN and flee to Prague after a brutal mafia war, the couple nestled into the countryside to raise their daughter, Anya, and lead a safe, quiet life. But when Dmitry’s son, Anatoly, shows up with an offer he can’t refuse, Dmitry is forced to go back to the life he left as boss of the most feared criminal organization in world. Consequently, the deal could not only destroy the Medlov Crime Family but also Dmitry and Royal.
Royal hasn’t been the same since she was attacked three years ago. Where she used to be a sweet, innocent girl, she’s now the jaded, bitter mistress of the Medlov Chateau. However, a reality check is in store for the pre-Madonna when Anya’s new teacher shows up with her sights set on stealing Dmitry, and Ivan’s old ally shows up with his sights on killing him. Can Royal save them all? Will she?
With a family in such turmoil, the only way to survive is to stick together. Read the gripping tale of a marriage strong enough to stand the test of time as Dmitry realizes that he has the best cards in the house as long as he has a Royal Flush.
Anatoly Medlov: Complete Reign:
From the bestselling series, the Medlov Crime Family, comes the highly-anticipated story about America‘s favorite bad boy…
Anatoly Medlov is the youngest crime boss in the Medlov Organized Crime Family’s history. Now, he has to prove himself to a council who thinks his legacy has not been well-earned, amidst a grueling investigation by Lt. Nicola Agosto of the Memphis Police Department and during plot to destroy him by his ex-lover, Victoria. In his loneliness, the only one he can confide in is the shop girl, Renee, an old friend who knows more than anyone about his personal journey. However, his friendship soon turns to love for a woman he knows that he cannot have because of the feared code his is bound to by the Vory v Zakone.
When his estranged mother dies suddenly, Anatoly flies to Russia to pay his last respects and discovers a jolting secret. The late Ivan Medlov’s own brutal legacy still lives through his son, Gabriel, and his New York crime family. Anatoly’s father and former Czar of the underworld, Dmitry, sees this as an opportunity to unite the two major families and blesses both men. However, Anatoly sees Gabriel as a threat to his empire and competition for the affection of his father. Will cousins kill because of the sins of their fathers?
Gabriel Medlov has always resented his existence. Now as an undercover DEA agent, he plans destroy the Medlov Crime Family once and for all. Only in order to get close enough to destroy the organization, he must also get close enough to love his estranged family. Will blood prove thicker than water or will one man’s revenge end the Family for good?
Follow the story of one young man who fights to be king in a room full of royalty and suffers the pain of his position in the romantic suspense guaranteed to make you want more.
What will a man do for his family? If you’re a Medlov, the answer is anything.
Dmitry Medlov, former boss of the Medlov Crime Family, is finally happy with his life. His legacy has been passed on to his heir, Anatoly, and his family is flourishing with birth of his new twin sons. However, everything is shattered when his little girl is abducted from her school only days after his sons’ births.
The question with Dmitry having so many enemies is who has her? A supporter of Dorian, a follower of Ivan or family of the council members he slaughtered? No one knows.
A ransom is put on the young girl in the amount of $500 million – a price Dmitry is more than ready to pay – but the fear in everyone’s heart is even if he pays, will she live?
Everyone comes together and puts aside their differences to save her. Dmitry returns to the council, Anatoly steps aside and Gabriel takes his rightful place as a Vor.
Anya is the key to the very foundation of the family and her father’s fleeting sanity. With her missing, Dmitry’s rage is unleashed unlike anyone has ever seen before.
Gabriel used to serve the very government that he is about to defy as he learns what it means to be a true Medlov.
And Anatoly is forced to grow up when he not only finds out that the little girl he’s loved her entire life has been stolen but also that he’s about to be a father himself.
Read the last book of the Medlov Crime Family Series, guaranteed to top all others, as the men discover that the only thing more important than money and power is family.
The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov
There just isn’t enough time for Dmitry.
America’s favorite fictional crime boss, Dmitry Medlov, had a very macabre start to his larger-than-life existence. In the short story series, The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov, volume one explores the inner-struggles of a rogue teen and his rocky rise in the feared organized crime group, the Vory v Zakone, before he became a billionaire underworld Czar.
Accidentally released from prison at the age of 18, Dmitry Medlov has 48 hours to assassinate a Ukrainian drug lord and get both he and his brother, Ivan, on a plane to London, before the authorities realize that the teenage hit-man is on the loose.
With the clock ticking, he hikes back to Moscow through a snow storm to discover that life has gone on without him. When he left, he was a feared earner for his underboss, Kirill. But as he returns, he finds that many things have changed including the lives of the people he cared for the most.
Baby brother Ivan isn’t a little boy anymore, and he’s showing signs of being a heartless sociopath. Following in his big brother’s footsteps, this bad boy can’t be trusted around his two most favorite toys – automatic machine guns and hunting knives. Trying to keep Ivan in line proves to be an on-going nightmare for Dmitry as he realizes that his brother might eventually be the end of him.
And while love was never on the agenda for Dmitry, the woman he cared deeply for has recently gotten engaged to a common wife beater. When Dmitry finds out, there might be one murder in Moscow for free.
While most kids are learning how to drive and going off to college at his age, Dmitry Medlov is cutting his teeth on murder, sex and mayhem.
This coming of age story is not like any other. Understand why the Medlov men became global threats through their feared brotherhood in the twelve-volume series that will take you jet setting around the world.
It has been one year since their escape from Moscow, and Dmitry and Ivan Medlov are struggling to keep their small organized crime family together in London. Used to a communist culture, the boys are exposed to the new opportunities of a capitalistic society while trying to compete for business in the gun-trafficking industry.
Ivan wants more recognition and girls. As his behavior becomes more erratic and his temper becomes more dangerous, the sixteen-year-old bad boy experiences firsthand what it is like to live in another person’s shadow.
Dmitry wants more knowledge and power. When he’s not reading, strategizing or selling illegal guns, he’s working towards bigger and better relationships to get the Medlov name in the right circles. And the perfect storm is brewing at his doorstep. His contact with The Free Right, a women’s rights group, needs a large shipment of guns for their clandestine operations. However, she is also interested in what the blonde assassin is like in bed.
Drawn in by his beauty and charm, Emma introduces him to the head of her organization on the eve that the USSR falls. Only, the head is also the billionaire business mogul, Lady Catherine Hutton. Now with more access to munitions and more opportunities to get rich, Dmitry has an awful decision to make which will lead him one step closer to losing his brother and one step closer to becoming the world’s most notorious underworld boss.
Read the second volume in the Medlov Crime Family short story series that tells the intimate story of how one man built an empire that became untouchable.
No crime boss has ever been as brilliant, beautiful and deadly as young Dmitry Medlov, and this Red Fella proves his affirmation in Volume 3 of The Chronicles, the longest of the short-story series.
Two years after meeting Lady Catherine Hutton and after fleeing Moscow to London, Dmitry has found the secret weapon to securing riches beyond his wildest dreams through a false marriage with British royalty.
Their quid pro quo arrangement was supposed to be a short-lived farce designed to give Lady Hutton one last thrilling sexual escapade before she met her untimely demise. However, in the process of teaching Dmitry how to be a real gentleman and making Catherine feel like a young woman again, the curious couple accidentally develops deep feelings for each other.
When Catherine realizes that Dmitry is in it for more than just the money, she leaves him a gift that rocks the foundations of the Medlov Crime Family – her entire estate worth over one billion pounds.
Dmitry’s new fortune, however, comes with a high price. The board of directors of the company he now owns wants him dead; one of the Vory elite “gifts” him the daughter of an Angolan war lord, and his brother, Ivan, falls for a woman who is as much of a sociopath as he is. There is also the matter of the media who declares him London’s most eligible bachelor.
While trying to steer away from the attention he’s getting country-wide with his new fortune, he finds himself drawn to the beautiful African scholar, Elsa, a student at Oxford who might just be able to help him stay in control of his multi-national corporation and remember what it’s like to actually “like a girl.” Passion strikes when the two are forced to live together while she reorganizes his business, but Dmitry wants more than sex from Elsa. He wants her home-country contacts.
Read the eleven-chapter, page-turning novelette that tops its two predecessors (Volume 1 & 2) with more action, romance, sex, murder and mafia.
Now a widower, Dmitry Medlov’s life has completely changed. Wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, his aspirations quickly move from more money to more power. Only the power he seeks is held by the commanding and elusive Czar of the underworld, Boss Smirnov. When Dmitry successfully talks the underboss and the all-knowing eye of the underworld, Khalid, into arranging a meeting between he and Boss Smirnov, he has no idea what troubles he is about to face. There are secrets that will be exposed in Prague that will forever change his young life again, leading to a decision that will rock the underworld for good.
Meanwhile, back in London, the city is buzzing about the deaths of the entire board of directors of Dmitry’s newly acquired business, Hutton Industries, minus the company’s former front man, who was involved in a gruesome home invasion that left him blind, deaf, mute and paralyzed.
With no witnesses, leads or proof combined with the botched attempt on his own life during the horrid chain of events, Dmitry is looked over as a person of interest by Scotland Yard and is given carde blache to turn his new private company into his personal money laundering hub right under the public’s nose with the help of his Africa girlfriend, Oxford University senior and business genius, Elsa. And it’s just in time for his new secret alliance with the leaders of a powerful paramilitary sect led by Elsa’s father in Angola, Africa.
Dmitry’s new found power creates a checkmate for his ambitions to be boss but puts a target squarely on his back by not only organized crime heads around the world but also by his own brother, Ivan. Secret alliances are formed. Money is exchanged, and a definite war is looming. Only no one is willing to give up as much as Dmitry is to be king.
Read the last volume of the first book, The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov and witness the heart stopping rise of a giant and everything that he’s willing to do to become the world’s most powerful and deadly boss.
After the explosive blow up in Prague, the Medlov men are burdened with the task of returning to business as usual. Dmitry heads to Angola, Africa to help fuel a civil war, and Ivan heads to London to murder the Irish gang, The Sulfux Boys. Only nothing can return back to the way it was before the boys faced Boss Smirnov. Dmitry accidentally unveils Elsa’s plot; Ivan and Arie do the unspeakable, and an old enemy becomes a new ally.
Plots thicken and alliances form in the latest installation of The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Volume 5 by national bestselling author Latrivia S. Nelson.
This is by far one of my largest short stories at 245 pages. But it was fun to write. Dmitry is a man who knows how to take charge of his organization and he’s proven that, but this story is about the shifting in the atmosphere. There are alliances that are being formed because of personal interests. The scum is going to cling to other scum and the good guys (if you can use that terminology with these books) find each other and work on strategy. We see how depraved our dear Ivan can be and we see Dmitry teetering on some serious affection for Elsa. This is the transitional story that puts V6-12 in gear.
Book One (Compilation of Volumes 1-4 in one book)
f you’ve been waiting to buy all the volumes of Book One of The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Volumes 1-4, the time has now arrived.
By popular demand, Latrivia S. Nelson is proud to announce a compilation of the first four of the twelve volumes from the Medlov Crime Family Short Stories Series.
Dmitry Medlov wasn’t always a billionaire crime boss. His rise to the top was a painstaking process that took many years and many trials and tribulations. From breaking out of prison on a twenty-year bid in Russia to trafficking guns in the back alleys of London and finally toppling a dynasty run by a blood-thirsty Czar, this seven-foot tall, bad boy had to earn every penny.
Along the way, however, he also learned about a woman’s heart, the pain of losing a sick wife, the drain of taking care of a psychotic kid brother, the knowledge of finding out that he was a father and pride of building an empire all before his 25th birthday.
Read about American’s favorite mob boss in four short tales that will have you flipping through the pages and begging for more.
The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Book One by national bestselling author Latrivia S. Nelson.
Quick Facts: Did you know that you can buy The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Volumes 1-4 as a compilation on eBook or as a paperback?
Author Latrivia S. Nelson has firm roots in Memphis as a graduate of The LeMoyne-Owen College and as a marketing and public relations professional with over 14 years of experience with some of the cities most recognized organizations. She leans on that background to write her steamy love stories and incorporate all things Blues City in her books.
“Memphis is so rich with culture until if I never wrote about another locale in the world, I’d still have plenty of subject matter,” said Nelson. “Each day, I find something or someone new to write about. It never gets old or boring. All you have to do is step outside of your door and you’re bombarded with notable personalities.”
Her latest novel, “The World in Reverse,” has topped several Amazon best sellers lists, including #1 for African American Mystery and #1 for organized crime. And it’s all about Memphis politics, police and crime.
“I was sitting on a bench downtown having lunch when I thought up the idea after reading a news article. The characters just fell in place over time, but they have no real counterparts,” said Nelson. “The book is simply one big what-if scenario.”
“The World in Reverse” is a sequel to her first book, “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” and centers around one of Nelson’s former leading characters, Nicola Agosto, a white Memphis police officer, his African-American wife and four children. During the course of an investigation into a series of child murders, Agosto is accused of using excessive force against an African-American suspect, suspended from the department and accused of being a racist.
To solve the city’s biggest case, protect his family and clear his name, he enlists the help of the seedy Russian mafia organization he had once been in charge of investigating to uncover a bigger conspiracy that includes a local politician and a fellow officer. The journey includes a riot that erupts downtown during a vigil, bombings and shootouts. And it ends with an even bigger twist.
With 14 novels under her belt, Nelson has had five national bestsellers in the last three years. After going through a pain-staking divorce, many of her readers questioned if she could come back strong.
“My most popular novel was based around my experiences at Camp Lejeune and the passion of my marriage. When I announced my divorce to my readers as the reason that they wouldn’t see new work for me for a while, the rumors started. It didn’t help that the next book that I released, “The Contingency Plan, didn’t do so well,” said Nelson.
“But I stayed focused. I realized that I needed to get my personal life in order and find peace through prayer in order to truly write something of quality. My readers deserved it and so did I.”
As a romance author, Nelson has set records, writing the largest interracial romance novel in the genre, “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” in 2008. She also had three books on Amazon’s Multicultural Best Sellers List at the same time in 2011. “The World in Reverse” has now topped her former record as the largest interracial thriller to date with 741 pages.
Nelson, who owns RiverHouse Publishing, LLC in Mid-Town, has six authors whom she represents.
“The great thing about owning and running your own business is your ability to control your message and grow your ideas. I was taught by the best. RiverHouse Publishing has been a blessing, because I not only have had my own dreams realized, I’ve been able to help others reach their own goals. It’s hard work, but it’s truly fulfilling.”
(“The World in Reverse” is available for $5 via e-book on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble‘s nook. It will be available in paperback format on Sept. 1. For more information, visit www.latrivianelson.com.)