Sterling Rivers a/k/a “Little Real”26, of Lebanon, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court 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, announced David Rivera, U. S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
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 Counties 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,” Rivera said. “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.
Of the 17 gang members, 11 were from Lebanon.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Lebanon Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Braden H. Boucek and Brent Hannafan.