In videos, Montez “Tez” Campbell and other alleged members of a Mississippi Coast street gang often rapped about their alleged drug use, smoked marijuana blunts, flaunted wads of cash and waved around semi-automatic firearms, according to federal authorities.
In social media posts, the alleged Biloxi-based leader of the Wicked street gang, joked about how he high he was, shared pictures of the dope he was smoking and promoted his upcoming rap gigs at a local venues.
Campbell had mostly stayed out of trouble until Nov. 2, 2022, when federal agents arrested him on a federal charge for being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.
After his arrest, FBI Task Force Agent Daniel Bison said Campbell got on social media to tell his followers not to contact him because drug agents had confiscated his phone.
Campbell, with the assistance of federal Public Defender Lee Russell, had been fighting the firearms offense for about nine months and was about to go trial when federal authorities slapped him with a new four-count indictment in August that included the firearms offense and additional charges.
Everything changed for Campbell.
At 22, the 2019 Biloxi High School graduate was hit with new federal charges for the distribution of marijuana, the painkiller oxycodone and Promethazine, a cough syrup that contains the Schedule IV controlled substance, Codeine., and other charges for making false statements to obtain a firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking scheme.
So when federal prosecutors offered Campbell a plea deal, he took it.
On Tuesday, Campbell pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking scheme in federal court in Gulfport He’s still facing a sentence of five years to life in prison.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola set his sentencing in January.
As part of the plea, Campbell admitted his use of a firearm as part of his involvement in the sale of marijuana and the prescription cough syrup but denied any involvement in the sale of oxycodone.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola accepted the guilty plea and set the sentencing on Jan. 23.
Campbell’s time in federal custody began last year, FBI Task Force Agent Danial Bisson said, when an FBI Task Force agent saw Campbell speeding and and swerving in and out of different lanes near a church and school on Jim Money Road in Harrison County.
Campbell didn’t stop right away, Agent Bison said, but instead, he kept “slow rolling,” or going a low rate of speed until DEA Task Force Officer Caleb Gregoire drove around Campbell and boxed his car in, forcing Campbell to stop.
When Campbell got out of the car, Bison said, he had hands up and marijuana in his mouth that he had apparently tried to eat before he got out of the car, a little more on the front of his shirt and a few pieces in a cup holder in his silver Nissan.
In a passenger seat, authorities found a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.
During the plea hearing, a federal prosecutor said authorities searched Campbell’s phone for calls and messages as well as his social media accounts and determined his involvement in alleged drug dealing.
According to prosecutors, the evidence compiled during the investigation confirmed Campbell’s involvement in drug dealing. In addition, prosecutors found evidence that determined Campbell was in the process of setting up a marijuana sale around the time of his arrest.
In messages about that proposed transaction, authorities said, Campbell expressed concern that the buyer was a member of an alleged rival gang.
After entering the plea, the judge ordered Campbell to remain in custody pending sentencing.
In the years preceding his arrest Campbell had featured his rap music in videos on YouTube.