A Little Rock man, who helped found a youth outreach program to discourage teenagers from getting involved with gangs after he said he gave up a life of crime, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug and gun charges for which he is facing 10 years in prison.
Chris Lamont Alexander, 42, admitted to charges of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute between 40 and 50 kilograms (88 to 110 pounds) of marijuana and possessing a 9mm Kel-Tec rifle in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
He told U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. that the reason he sold marijuana was to support the youth group, which was called Better Community and Family Values, using the initials of local gangs called the Bloods, Crips, Folks and Vice Lords.
"I didn't take any funds from the city for my business," Alexander said. He added, "It cost me $150 a week to feed the kids, so I had to turn elsewhere, sir, even though I didn't want to."
After Marshall sought to clarify that Alexander was in the marijuana business to fund his youth group, Alexander replied affirmatively, saying, "Everything I gained I spent for the youth."
Alexander has acknowledged being a former gang member, though federal investigators characterized him as an active member after his arrest in late October 2017, when 7.5 pounds of marijuana and an armored vest were found in a car he owned at his auto detailing business at a Little Rock carwash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Givens told the judge that law enforcement officers had been familiar with Alexander for a number of years when they "developed a source" through which they were able to arrange small marijuana buys from Alexander. Givens said a confidential informant bought a pound of marijuana from Alexander in front of a residence on 22nd Street in August 2017, during which Alexander asked the informant to go to Texas to pick up some marijuana for him, which the informant declined to do.
On Sept. 11, 2017, Givens said, the informant called Alexander, who arranged to sell him 10 pounds of marijuana for $7,000, saying he would meet him in an hour at the carwash.
Givens said detectives watched Alexander's red Dodge Charger leave the carwash and drive to his rented business space at 515 S. James St. in Jacksonville, where an associate of his, 41-year-old Kenya Davis, entered the storage unit and emerged carrying a black bag, then got in the car, which went back to the carwash at 1102 Daisy Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock.
There, Givens said, a police dog alerted to marijuana in the Dodge and in a white Ford Mustang, which Alexander admitted was also his, and officers found marijuana and Alexander's wallet in the Dodge. In the Mustang, Givens said, officers found the Kel-Tech alongside pamphlets for Alexander's youth organization.
Givens told the judge that a search later carried out at the Jacksonville building resulted in the seizure of a small amount of marijuana, more body armor and two more rifles -- a Ruger .22-caliber and an Alexander Arms AAR-17, both unloaded -- that were sitting in plain view in the closet, which didn't have a door.
Alexander, addressing the judge from a table where he wore a bright pink jail uniform and sat beside defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock, said, "I had the gun with me that was loaded, given the history of people trying to take my life."
He said his best friend was killed in 2015, and he was shot twice in 2016.
In July 2017, Alexander's 14-year-old son, Cyncere, was found shot to death in Alexander's apartment at an apartment complex on Green Mountain Drive in Little Rock. Police reported finding a white plastic bag containing 1.8 pounds of marijuana lying open on a bed in the apartment.
In July, Little Rock police arrested four men -- Tyler Jackson, 19; Machita Decosta "Frog" Mitchell Jr, 42; Kenwan "Booman" Sherrod, 21; and Keterrioun Deshon Chandler, 20 -- on charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery in connection with the boy's death.
Police have also said that Jackson, Mitchell and Sherrod were together inside the Power Ultra Lounge on July 1, 2017, during a mass shooting that left 25 people injured from gunfire. Jackson told police that he, Mitchell and Sherrod arrived together and that he fired the first shot in the club, according to reports.
A Pulaski County investigator's testimony in a federal hearing last year indicated that Mitchell and Chris Alexander, who is also known as "Murder," and "Murda," were in an argument over missing marijuana before the boy's slaying.
The investigator read aloud text messages between Mitchell and Sherrod that indicated that Chris Alexander had "ripped off" Mitchell and possibly Sherrod. In a message about a week before the slaying, Sherrod told Mitchell that Alexander "ain't got nothing but a bad-a** little son."
Alexander told the judge Wednesday that just three weeks after his son was killed, "my 18-year-old little brother was killed on Asher" Avenue.
"I've just been a man afraid for his life," he said.
Davis is also facing charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Alexander's sentencing was set for 9 a.m. May 7 before Marshall. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while the firearm charge is punishable by a consecutive sentence of five years to life. Givens said he agreed to recommend, in exchange for Alexander's guilty plea, that he be sentenced to five years on the conspiracy charge, to be followed by five years on the gun charge.
Marshall agreed, at Givens' request, to dismiss four other charges Alexander faced: two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and single counts of distribution of marijuana and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Alexander was sentenced last April to six years in state prison after pleading guilty to felony fleeing and possession of body armor.
Metro on 01/17/2019