Former LA Sheriff’s Lieutenant & Son Federally Indicted for Reported Participation in LA-to-Memphis Drug Pipeline

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

Former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Lieutenant, and His Son, a Former Compton Cop, Indicted for Cross-Country Drug & Money Laundering Conspiracy

Last week twenty-two alleged members and associates of two street gangs, the Los Angeles-based Grape Street Crips, and the Memphis-based Peda Roll Mafia, were indicted by a federal grand jury for being part of a reported drug and money laundering pipeline that ran between Memphis, Tennessee, and Los Angeles.

According to acting US Attorney Lawrence Laurenzi, of the Western District of Tennessee, members of the Grape Street Crips supplied heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and various other pharmaceutical substances to members the Peda Roll Mafia, who then distributed the drugs throughout much of Tennessee.

News of this newly unsealed indictment would not normally be of great interest to most LA readers. Yet, it turns out that two of those indicted—Reginald Wright, Sr. and Reginald Wright, Jr.—are former members of Southern California law enforcement.

Reginald Wright, Sr, is a former lieutenant of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who retired from the LASD on May 30, 2014. Prior to his time with the LA County Sheriffs, Wright, Sr. was a gang enforcement lieutenant on the Compton Police Department, until that agency was shut down in 2000 under a cloud of scandal.

Wright, Sr.’s son, Reginald Wright, Jr. has a somewhat more complicated past. Like his dad, Reggie Wright, Jr. worked for the Compton PD. But, in many circles, the younger Wright is better known as the former head of security for Suge Knight’s Death Row Records.  In relationship to his former position at Death Row, in the past decade, Wright Jr. has been the subject of rumors, accusations, and counter accusations having to do with the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

Reginald Wright, Jr.

The names of both Wright, Sr. and Wright, Jr. have come up in some of the media stories about the two murders, and related issues. There is, for example, this 2001 PBS Frontline interview with Russell Poole, the late LAPD Robbery/Homicide detective who, after his retirement, became known for his private investigation into the death of Shakur and Small.
Then, in 2015, VICE Magazine did a story before Poole died about the detective’s conviction that Wright, Jr. had been involved in Tupac Shakur’s death. On the opposite side of the rumor and counter-rumor mill, in 2014, Reggie Wright, Jr. did a lengthy interview with the LA Weekly in which he explained how and why his accusers got it wrong.

Three-plus Year Investigation Began in 2013

According to US Attorney Laurenzi, the multi-agency federal investigation that resulted in the indictments against the Wrights and 20 others began in 2013, and led to the seizure of 11,950 grams of marijuana, 3,270 grams of cocaine, 2,880 grams of heroin, 3,260 grams of methamphetamine, and twenty-three pistols, including an AR-15.

If the start date for the California part of the investigation into the alleged drug sales and money laundering conspiracy also began in 2013, this would mean that Reggie Wright, Sr. would have still been working for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department when the feds began looking at reported wrongdoing among the alleged LA co-conspirators.

Reginald Wright, Sr.

As mentioned above, Wright, Sr. came to the LASD after the Compton Police Department, where he was a lieutenant working the department’s gang detail, was disbanded in July, 2000, by the Compton City Council.  The department was shut down, in part, because the city was plagued by violent crime, but reportedly also because of allegations made in a 95-page report by Compton PD’s internal affairs bureau that recounted tales of guns and large amounts of narcotics vanishing from the department’s evidence vault.  According to multiple accounts, the report was triggered after a Long Beach police officer, Bryant Watts, was shot by a gun that was later found to have been in the possession of the Compton police.

When the Compton PD was dissolved, the City Council voted to give the $12.3-million yearly contract for policing the city to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. LA County Sheriff Lee Baca attended the meeting during which the vote was taken, and pledged to offer employment to any eligible Compton police officer with the LASD.

Wright, Sr. was among those hired. According to LA Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, Nicole Nishida, he joined the department in September 2000.

The federal indictment alleges that both Reginald Wright, Sr., and Reginald Wright, Jr. are now members of the Grape Street Crips, and that two of their reported co-conspirators are associated with a Mexican Drug cartel.


  • Well lookie lookie here, Whatta know? All these years chasing the great white devil cop, look at what’s been going on underneath everyone’s nose(s). It’s almost as if everyone’s attention was diverted elsewhere. Anyone remember Rampart?

    • Leave the “Race Bait” in your closet. No cops will bite. Cops, be they good or/and bad come in all nationalities. Just another story of a continuing saga in LASD. As embarrassing as Pandora’s Box was, not one commenter bought out the “Race Card”. The “Great White Devil” title was omitted.

    • You have the “Great White Devils”….”Great Brown Devils”…and the “Great Black Devils!” They’re ALL Devils! Of course…YOU should already be aware of this FACT!

    • Kong;

      Stop being the gorilla in the room. The law enforcement environment is replete with opportunities for “Evil” to rear its ugly head. The principles of proper management are thrown to the wind in most police departments. Therefor; enter: favoritism, nepotism, and all the other ism’s which impede effective management. What is really lacking is professionalism by a few multi ethnic cops. Fear of persecution if you report wrongdoing. These fears are grounded when by coincidence people (snitches) have accidents, unfair evaluations, unsubstantiated group accusations, framups for incidents and calumnies when they “snitch.” These tactics work the majority of the time until one of the victims (snitches) snaps and becomes a “serial killer.” (extremely rare)

      • Looper:
        Great post and knowledge to the youngster “Kong”. Age and experience will temper his hair trigger comments.

  • Major Kong: you’re becoming what you say you despise??

    Remember Arco Narco…. White as the driven snow. Dirty cops, as rare as they are, come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

  • Just the poor background process when Lasd took Compton PD. Look back at the captains of personnel and the PT train. Forget any race card, bad cops are bad cops. Get rid of them as they poison the pool of good ones.

  • The great white devil was most certainly not omitted from Pandora’s box. How many times during the coverage of that case did you hear Lynwood Viking neo nazi gang?( BTW Lynwood station ceased to exist over 20 years ago) Really, if you don’t see racial politics in and surrounding law enforcement I don’t know what to tell you.
    Ownership, what did I say I despised?

  • The only two and true devils from Lynwood Vikings involving Pandora’s Box were Greg Thompson and Paul Tanaka.

  • Guess you want to drive that point home hard, poor old “retired deputy” ain’t got a clue. You know the saying- there’s no fool like an old fool.

  • As a Domestic Violence and Rape Sexual Assault Social Worker during this 13 year time period IN Compton,I can tell you this! All these so called Sheriffs and the LAPD are THEE bigist GANG OF CRIMINALS OUT THERE. They absolutely can not be trusted in any shape way or form. They tried to fuck the DV.,Rape,Sexual Assault Victims. They tried to blackmail a ride along DV. Advocate with the so called sheriffs dept.for sex. When we put in an official complaint with The so called INTERNAL AFFAIRS DEPT. they covered his ass tighter than a frogs butt! They kicked victims that they did not believe. Till they turned up dead by their batterers with their poor children dead by the Batterer hand to. They still consistently say that if a sex worker was raped and tortured and beat up then she deserved it and it wasn’t really a crime for them to have to do paperwork on! Cowardly Bunch Of Punk Ass Bastards! The poor good kind loving people of Compton and South Central around there deserve doo much better than that CRIMINAL GANG OF SHERIFFS AND LAPD AREAS!!!! I only pray to God that all you all get exactly what you have metted out to the community. A White over 30 Year Social Worker.

  • When the Sheriff’s Department took over the Compton PD, Yvonne Burke applied tremendous pressure on the LASD to have members who would not have initially qualified as deputies accepted. (Same thing happened with the Safety Police by Gloria Molina.) Scandals and controversy followed within the LASD as a result of accepting those unqualified personnel. Does anyone remember the scandals of ex-Mayor Omar Bradley of Compton under which the Compton PD served during the merger? The LASD was infected by the same Compton PD human viruses. When do the Board of Supervisors answer for their poor judgment? Of course, never. This will continue and there will be more problems as time goes on.

    • Granted, many P.D. have their own scandals, whether the public knows it or not. No department is immune from controversy As cited in previous comments, LASD had two big ones in Arco Narco & Pandora’s Box. Those capers included only originally sworn deputies.

  • I wonder how many people went to Baca, Tanaka or anyone within EPC during the previous B/T administration OR more importantly, the current administration to report validated, straight-up corruption and corrupt individuals by name? And I wonder how many of them were told by Tanaka loyalists to shut up and sit down? What type of information did ICIB and IAB receive about corruption and swept it under the already lumpy carpet? I think perhaps the answer to those questions may be percolating as we speak and I certainly hope that information is exposed.

    • Many employees did just that. Those whom Baca and Tanaka (and their loyalists) couldn’t silence, Baca and Tanaka enthusiastically destroyed with fabricated IA/ICIB cases. And, as many employees reported corrupt actions by Baca and Tanaka, it was quickly learned that there is no protection whatsoever for those who told the truth. In spite of the alleged whistleblower protection laws, Baca and Tanaka openly flaunted their continued corrupt acts, knowing that no one around them would do anything to stop them. There were/are so many complicit employees who chose to go along with anything Baca and Tanaka did, solely for their own personal gain. Cowards, all!

      Who knew that telling the truth, especially as a law enforcement professional, could be so dangerous in the United States of America.

    • Spade, serious question, as far as the new administration goes, whatta think? Any good juicy corruption stuff out there? I think we would all like to hear it, please.

      • You don’t have to look too far. None other than the illustrious Constitutional Policing Advisor, who was part of the OIR cabal who routinely round-filed any allegations of corruption brought to them personally. McDonnell decided to hire her in spite of her sordid past and zero credibility, and he has to own that.

        • LATBG, With that being said it’s obvious why so many department personnel choose to “hush and eat mush”.

          The code of silence amongst LEO’s even within the inner circle is to be damned either way.

  • Major Kong; To answer your question, you said you despised CF’s injections of race when race had no bearing on the subject. Then you did it with the first post on this thread.

  • As a young deputy I recall telling a critical civilian that one of LE’s problems was that we had to recruit from the general population, like them, and in spite of screening (which actually was done at the time, with exceptions such as FOS), undesirable aspects of human nature could slip through. As we were taught in the academy, the history of some sort of law/rule enforcement is long and varied in tribes, gangs, cultures, societies, etc. From the sound of some of the comments, so is prejudice.

  • Nice .. be an LT in LASD all while your son is working for Death Row records .. now that’s some real gangster shit!!!.. Core values!!..

  • Look no further than Baltimore P.D. latest scandal of “planting” dope. The idiots captured their own crime on bodycams. Stupid is what stupid does. And you wonder why Cops are not trusted.

Leave a Comment