Memphis, TN – Four members of the Gangster Disciples have been sentenced to more than 30 years for attempting to rob a convenience store and a drug dealer. Two of the defendants were previously on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) “Top 10 Most Wanted” list. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentences today.
The defendants and their respective sentences:
Joe Reed, aka "Four Times," 26, of Ripley, Tennessee, 120 months
Antwone Crew, aka "Gator," 26, of Ripley, Tennessee, 109 months
Andreas Wells, aka "Drizzy," 20, of Ripley, Tennessee, 106 months
Sequna Copeland, aka "Cutthroat," 27, of Ripley, Tennessee, 27 months
According to the information presented in court, on the evening of December 10, 2014, Reed, Wells and Crew robbed the Ripley Express Convenience Store in Ripley, Tennessee. The three defendants entered the store masked and armed with firearms. One of them pointed a shotgun at the store clerk as he took money from the register.
A couple hours later, law enforcement officers were informed that several men wearing masks and carrying guns were outside of a trailer home in the Gates, Tennessee area, and that a robbery was about to take place.
Law enforcement arrived on the scene in time to observe the masked men run inside the trailer and a man run out of the back. Officers knocked on the door, and four people came outside. The officers asked if the individuals had seen anything suspicious. The individuals denied seeing anything, and also denied the officers entry into the residence.
Officers looked around the area and discovered some clothing near the home that matched clothing seen on the surveillance video from the Ripley Express robbery. Officers also looked around a Buick Century that neighbors saw the armed men exit before approaching the trailer. Officers saw a firearm sitting inside the car. The firearm and additional clothing seen in the Ripley Express robbery surveillance video were recovered. The vehicle was towed, and the officers eventually left the area.
Shortly after leaving, an anonymous tip came in notifying the police that they needed to return to the trailer because robbers were still inside the home.
Through witness interviews, search warrants, and GPS information, law enforcement identified the perpetrators. Crew and Wells were subsequently arrested.
Reed and Copeland avoided apprehension collectively for eight months and were placed on TBI’s "Most Wanted" list before being captured.
On July 30, 2015, Copeland, while under oath and testifying as a witness in a proceeding before Grand Jury, made a false statement to prevent the punishment of Reed and Crew.
Between March and June 2016, Reed, Wells and Crew all pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly conspiring with each other to take drugs and drug proceeds from a drug dealer, and one count of aiding and abetting each other while carrying a firearm during the robbery of a drug dealer.
In July 2016, Copeland pleaded guilty to one count of perjury.
The defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. between June and October 2016.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), TBI and the Ripley Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Stringfellow prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.