The size and scope of Carlos “Bader” Williams’ drug ring was so large that it even amazed U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade who has presided over hundreds of similar cases in his 17-year career.
“You were a major drug dealer,” the judge said Friday. “This is one of the largest drug conspiracies I have seen.”
Conservative estimates linked Williams, 35, to 20 kilograms of crack cocaine, a staggering amount considering a standard dose is about 0.2 grams. The drugs were sold over a decade and had an estimated street value of about $2 million.
The numbers and the statements came at Williams’ sentencing, where he received a 30-year prison term, which was at the bottom of his guideline range. He had faced up to life.
Two others in Williams’ organization also were sentenced. William E. “Pookey” Sproling received five years behind bars and Daryl “Buck” Miller got 20 years, the mandatory minimum under federal law. All three pleaded to the same count, drug trafficking conspiracy.
More than 20 people filled McDade’s courtroom for Williams’ hearing. His attorney, Ron Hamm, sought the 20-year mandatory minimum, saying his client had a rough childhood and grew up to idolize his brothers, who were in prison on drug charges.
Williams himself gave a passionate and articulate plea, saying he learned and wanted to be a youth counselor when he got out of prison to teach people about the evils of fast money. McDade was touched by his statements but noted that Williams had a chance to do right and chose the easy way out.
But the judge also noted that everyone has a good side, taking note of those in the audience. Williams, he said, would have been hailed as a “hero” had he pursued a legal endeavor.
“What a waste. You have organizational skills. You have leadership, and now all of that is wasted,” the judge said.
The judge also lamented the draconian federal sentencing guidelines, which severely punish crack cocaine crimes.
“Anyone who wants to get into the drug business, anyone who sells crack cocaine is stupid,” the judge said, noting that with one prior drug conviction, there’s a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. Two priors could get a person life in prison.
And then there was the money aspect. “In all my time here, I have never seen (it) except in maybe one or two cases. Where’s the money? It is all gone, and all that risk, all that hard work is for nothing.”
The arrests were part of Operation Rockclimb, a federal effort against the Black P. Stones street gang. Unlike past operations such as Crackshot, which took on the Gangster Disciplines in the mid-1990s, Rockclimb has made extensive use of wiretaps to build cases. More than two dozen people so far have been indicted.
And one of those made her first appearance in court on Friday, hours after Williams was sentenced. Tyrissa Carruthers, 26, of 2121 W. Starr St. was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and to using a telephone to further the conspiracy.
Her indictment was returned Wednesday but sealed until she appeared in court. According to the charges, she rented an apartment for Williams to store drugs as well as delivered crack for Williams.