Vice Lords leader sentenced to 28 years in prison - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Vice Lords leader sentenced to 28 years in prison

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Sterling Rivers, also known as "Little Real," 26, of Lebanon, Tenn., was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Nashville to 28 years in prison for conspiring to distribute large quantities of crack cocaine and cocaine, as part of his involvement in a criminal street gang called the Unknown Vice Lords.

Rivers was indicted with 16 other individuals in September 2011 following a nearly two-year investigation into a national street gang, the Vice Lords, operating in Wilson and Putnam County, Tennessee, and beyond. Rivers fled following his indictment and was arrested in October 2011 as a fugitive in Texas. Rivers was convicted following a trial in September 2013 in which he represented himself.

"This sentence reaffirms that drug trafficking and organized crime will result in significant prison sentences," said U.S. Attorney David Rivera. "This and other recent sentences of gang members should send a clear and convincing message that violent gang activity in this district will be vigorously pursued by the U.S. Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners."

The convictions in this case followed a two-week trial, during which Rivers represented himself. Proof at trial established that Rivers was engaged in organizing the Vice Lords Gang throughout the state of Tennessee and had been involved in an array of violent crime, including the robbery of another drug dealer and the shooting of another individual.

Sixteen other defendants were also charged in connection with this investigation, and all have been convicted.

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