Now that we have provided a broad sketch of the alleged racketeering enterprise involving, in part, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and the narcotics team, RC Catalyst will begin providing detailed examples of how Murray and the black team prey on the most vulnerable members of our community to enrich themselves and allow the drug trade to continue in this judicial district.
NARCOTICS TEAM FORCES MAN INTO COOPERATION
Beginning in 2007, an individual (who has asked that his identity be withheld due to safety concerns) was living as a troubled teen. As a youth, he tried methamphetamine and quickly became addicted. At the same time, one of the narcotics team officers approached him and enlisted his help in exchange for not charging him with what were petty drug charges. The officer stated that he was going to “save his life.” As this individual explained to RC Catalyst, “they left out the part about taking it in the end.”
This individual initially worked with the narcotics officers that preceded Chadd Murray and the current narcotics team. He stated that it was when Murray rose in the ranks with the narcotics team that things began to quickly deteriorate.
In 2013, this individual was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle while cooperating with the narcotics team to gather information. He was sentenced to 22-28 months in prison. He was released in 2015.
MURRAY AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY TED BELL COERCE MAN INTO COOPERATING AFTER SERVING TIME IN PRISON
During the two (2) year period, this individual, for the first time in years, became sober. Upon his release, he intended to maintain that lifestyle and focus on his family. However, he still had an outstanding charge for larceny pending in Cleveland County. Once he completed his prison sentence, the prosecutor suddenly increased that charge to habitual status, which drastically increases the potential prison time.
At the same time his charges were increased, this individual attended a sobriety celebration event in Ellenboro. District Attorney Ted Bell – who was running for reelection at the time – and Murray – who had, by that point taken over as the head of the narcotics team – along with several members of the narcotics team were present.
One of Murray’s officers approached this individual and stated “I hear you’re selling drugs again.” This individual had never been a narcotics dealer and was finally attempting to re-establish his life without drugs.
This individual responded that he was not and had not been selling drugs. The narcotics officer then threatened that he would be charging the individual’s ailing father with a charge being pursued by the Sheriff’s Office and ensure the father spent his remaining years in prison if the individual did not agree to work with them.
Ted Bell then approached this individual, leaned over toward him, and whispered in his ear that “a phone call can move mountains,” indicating that he could resolve this individual’s then-pending habitual larceny charge in exchange for his cooperation.
Despite wanting to remain out of the drug circles in which he was previously involved, this individual agreed to assist based on the promise that his father would be left alone by the Sheriff’s Office.
District Attorney Ted Bell wrote a letter to the prosecutor in Cleveland County on this individual’s behalf stating that he was responsible for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars of narcotics off the street, in addition to resulting in large amount of cash proceeds. That letter has now disappeared from the court file.
As noted by this individual, the seized narcotics and drug proceeds were rarely documented and, when they were, the narcotics officers never identified the actual amounts seized. As briefly described in the previous article, this individual – like others discussing these issues with RC Catalyst – confirmed that narcotics were provided to other individuals being forced to continue selling drugs to by reselling drugs the narcotics team.
The cash proceeds were, in almost all cases, taken by the narcotics team and never to be seen again.
The individuals from whom narcotics and drug proceeds were seized were rarely arrested, even more rarely prosecuted, and virtually never convicted. Rather, the same individuals continued providing the community with narcotics and the narcotics team with their resulting profits.
MURRAY DEMANDS NEVER-ENDING COOPERATION
Despite this individual’s attempt to prevent his family from being targeted by the black team by assisting with the initial endeavors identified by Murray and his team, Murray never relented in his threats to harm this individual and his family if he ever refused to continue assisting Murray and his team in their alleged racketeering enterprise.
Murray’s demands came with a severe cost to this individual.
By forcing this individual to continuously be around active methamphetamine users, this individual had no option to but use the drug that had previously ruined his life in order to protect himself from those Murray demanded he interact with. Once he was, once again, addicted, this individual was immediately more prone to Murray’s threats and Murray’s abusive behavior toward this individual and his family drastically increased.
The narcotics team continued forcing this individual to assist them for several years, frequently taunting him and making clear his life had no meaning them (in fact, in one instance, Murray expressly stated “my life matters – yours doesn’t”).
As but one of the most egregious examples, one of the narcotics officers cut the face off of a picture of a sheriff’s deputy shaking hands with Sheriff Francis and pasted this individual’s face. That picture was posted on Facebook. This individual sent the picture to Officer Mode (another deputized federal officer involved) to ask for help with the harassment. Rather than help, however, another Sheriff’s deputy pulled this individual over while driving and stated “I just wanted to see if it was you” and ensuring this individual was aware that his altered picture of him shaking Sheriff Francis’ hand was posted in the Sheriff’s Office.
As this individual stated, “I’ve been suicidal for over a year now and not wanting to come home from prison to bury my parents . . . my dad is and always will be my hero and that’s why I let [Murray] push me as far as he did . . . I’d lay my life down for my dad, mom and sisters and wife and kids.” He continued that “I did what I thought would keep me home with them and also keep them safe from prison from fake charges to get to me.” But, “by late in 2018, . . . they [were] after me to secure me being under [Murray’s] thumb until further say so.”
Murray and his team quickly began acting on their threats.
THE NARCOTICS TEAM TARGETS INDIVIDUAL’S FAMILY MEMBERS
In one of many instances in which Murray and the narcotics team attempted to harm this individual’s family to force him into further assisting in their unlawful actions, Murray, in conjunction with Officer Chavez (also a deputized federal agent) began stalking this individual’s sister and wife.
This individual had just moved to a new residence and, within three days (and no pending charges), Murray began surveilling his home. In a warrant Murray later obtained, he indicated that he observed a vehicle in this individual’s driveway that had no license plate (an entirely legal occurrence). Murray did not state that he every observed anyone driving the vehicle, but maintained that his observation of the vehicle justified a prolonged period of surveillance.
When this individual’s sister exited the house and entered the car, Chavez immediately pulled her over.
Chavez provided no basis for the stop and began asking questions about this individual. This individual’s sister refused to answer any of Chavez’s question, after which the entire narcotics team appeared. Because she would not provide any information to Chavez, Murray suddenly pulled out a bag of narcotics from his pocket and said “look what we have here.” This individual’s sister was arrested.
When the sister spoke with her attorney as to what had happened, the attorney indicated that a judge would likely believe Chavez and Murray over here. As a result, his sister plead guilty to possession of methamphetamine that she never possessed.
Within days of this individual’s sister bonding out on the possession charge, Murray and Officer Mode (another narcotics officer that is also a deputized federal agent) surveilled this individual’s home again. On this day, the individual’s wife left the home with her child to take him to school. Officer Chavez pulled them over – again providing no reason for the stop.
Chavez began questioning the woman about this individual and separated her from her child. The wife refused to provide any information and Chavez began demanding that the wife allow the narcotics team entry into the individual’s home – even attempting to convince her to “just open the door handle.” She refused.
Chavez then began threatening the woman’s child that if he did not provide them with information as to any drugs that the individual may have in his possession that he would never play basketball at his school again and would be in serious trouble. The child knew nothing and, to this day, reports fear of the officers involved.
Despite the wife refusing to provide any information or allow the officers entry into the individual’s residence, the officer kept the wife and child detained until Officer Mode, along with Murray, was able to approach the home and kick the door in with no search or arrest warrant.
This individual was sleeping (as the wife had informed them) and the narcotics team raided his bedroom and moved him outside while they searched the residence. It was only after the narcotics team raided the residence that they obtained a search warrant.
The narcotics team did, however, obtain a warrant approximately three (3) hours after the unlawful intrusion and search had concluded.
Despite this individual never having a drug charge of any type, Murray and the narcotics team charged him with a habitual high-level drug charge. Because this case is still pending, however, we will not discuss this situation in more detail at this time.
Additionally, on the day of his arrest, Sheriff Francis was giving a group of 5-year-olds a tour of the jail. When Francis approached the holding area where the individual was being detained, Francis stated to the group of children that “this is what happens when you don’t listen.”
Francis was well aware of what the black team had done to this individual, that they had asked that he beg for his own freedom by giving up his family’s safety, and that the narcotics team planned to extort this individual’s compliance in perpetuity to ensure the alleged racketeering enterprise run by the narcotics team was allowed to flourish.
NARCOTICS TEAM CONTINUES ATTEMPTS TO FORCE COMPLIANCE
Despite the intolerable and harassing behavior or the narcotics team described above, Murray attempted to leverage the unlawful drug charge above to force this individual to assist the narcotics team once again. Murray assured the individual that he would ensure his charges would be dismissed.
Given that Murray had promised to ensure this individual spent no less than ten (10) years in prison and realizing he had no one that could help him, this individual agreed.
In this instance, however, Murray and several other officers from the narcotics team placed the individual in a situation where his family would have been directly targeted if he cooperated. This time, the individual refused.
In response, Murray promised that he would fabricate additional charges to ensure the individual received multiple other ten (10) year sentences.
The individual responded “you can’t do that. That’s not right.” Murray then bragged “I can do whatever I want, remember – I’m a fed.”
At this point, this individual reached out to RC Catalyst to tell his story. However, this individual’s story took one more perverse twist before the article was ready for publication.
MURRAY, THE NARCOTICS TEAM, AND FRANCIS NEARLY FACILITATE THE DEATH OF THIS INDIVIDUAL’S DAUGHTER
Throughout the entire period that the black team was forcing this individual to assist them in order to save his family, this individual provided information on a number of high-volume drug traffickers. Murray consistently refused to arrest those individuals. Rather, he repeatedly seized their drug proceeds and forced them to continue ensuring narcotics flooded Rutherford County.
Although one specific drug trafficker will be discussed more fully in a subsequent article, Murray’s protection and exploitation of that individual nearly killed this individual’s daughter two nights ago.
The trafficker at issue is the largest source of Fentanyl in this judicial district and has been well-known to the narcotics team for 1-2 years with countless opportunities to arrest him. This trafficker and one of his local distributors have begun using pill pressing machines to sell Fentanyl by claiming it is actually another type of narcotic. In this instance, the trafficker created pills that he claimed were oxycontin.
The trafficker’s distributor sold one such pill to the individual above’s daughter two nights ago. Because of the inconsistency in purity of what this trafficker brings into the county, there have been countless overdoses in the past six (6) months. The individual above’s daughter became one of the most recent victim to the narcotics distribution facilitated by the narcotics team.
As his daughter laid in the hospital unresponsive, the narcotics team refused to take any actions to arrest the individual that had sold the pill to his daughter. This individual had repeatedly provided specific information that should have ended the influx of fentanyl into this community (as had other individuals that RC Catalyst will discuss in the forthcoming article). Yet, despite his own daughter grasping to her life, the narcotics team again refuse to end the influx of fentanyl in this county by charging the individual responsible.
As it turns out, one of the primary suspected reasons the distributor that sold this individual’s daughter the fake oxycontin pill is being protected is his relationship to one of the officers in the Sheriff’s Office.
That decision has now left the individual above in a hopeless situation in which his daughter’s life hangs in the balance while he has no remedy against the injustices inflicted upon the community Sheriff Francis, Ted Bell, Chadd Murray, and the narcotics team.