A gang leader was sentenced to more than 78 years in prison for his role in three armed violent home invasions and for engaging in campaign to terrorize and silence witnesses, the U.S. attorney's office in Nashville said on Friday.
Evidence presented at trial last year showed that Corey Lamont Lanier had achieved the highest rank in the 98 Mafia Street Gang when he planned, organized and participated in the home invasions that targeted drug dealers, said David Rivera, the acting top federal prosecutor in Nashville.
Lanier, a 34-year-old career criminal, played a role in three home invasions in Nashville in 2009. During each robbery, a group of three or four criminals burst into a home and threatened to kill everyone while demanding drugs and drug proceeds.
Young children were present at two of the robberies.
Lanier was convicted in December of three counts of conspiring to commit robberies affecting interstate commerce and three counts of brandishing a firearm during the crimes. While awaiting sentencing, authorities say Lanier had someone create a Facebook page that had a list of the government's witnesses and photographs of some of the victims that were described as "rats."
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. found that Lanier used electronic media to "malign, harass and intimidate government witnesses" and that he continued to engage in a campaign to terrorize people after his trial. As a result, Haynes imposed the maximum sentence and Lanier will likely serve the rest of his life in prison.