Otis Carden sentenced to Life in Prison
Posted December 2, 2008on:
27-year-old Otis Carden, the ringleader of an organized motorcycle theft and drug ring operating in Polk County since 2007, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, on one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and 2 counts
Possession of a Machine Gun, was sentenced today, November 26, 2008, in Federal Court by United States District Court Judge Richard A. Lazzara to Life in Prison. Today’s sentencing is related to Carden being found guilty on August 23, 2008, of Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine.
In the summer of 2007, the Polk County Sheriff’s Southwest District Proactive Community Attack on Problems (PROCAP) team began gathering information regarding an organized motorcycle theft and drug ring. The investigation revealed that the organization’s leaders were Otis “Cowboy” Carden and Terry “Ox” Gilmore.
Over several months, a total of 30 arrests were made involving known associates of Carden and Gilmore. The charges ranged from Grand Theft, Burglary, Possession of Narcotics, Criminal Traffic Violations, to Felony and Misdemeanor Warrants.
Ultimately, the PROCAP team began to establish links between the crime trends and an organization of criminals, ultimately leading to the upper echelon of the organization, specifically Carden and Gilmore. Information gathered revealed that Carden and Gilmore were selling large amounts of methamphetamine and would take cash and stolen property in exchange for payment of the methamphetamine, to include stolen motorcycles, vehicles, and guns.
By late March 2007, numerous agencies had assisted the Sheriff’s Offices’ investigation, including agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration; the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the US Attorney’s Office; and State Attorney Jerry Hill’s Office (10th Judicial Circuit).
On January 1, 2008, the PROCAP team received information that Carden was storing stolen vehicles and guns in a shed at 115 Fields Rd, in Lakeland. The PROCAP team responded and the subsequent search produced numerous items of stolen property, several stolen vehicles, and 18 firearms. Of these 18 firearms, two were confirmed to be fully automatic machine guns and one was confirmed to be a stolen Fish and Wildlife Officer’s duty weapon. Carden was later arrested on a Polk County Warrant in Osceola January 23, 2008 by the US Marshal’s Fugitive task force. He had 11 grams of Meth and $9,000.00 in his possession.
On February 8, 2008, Terry “Ox” Gilmore, the self described “muscle” of the organization, was arrested by Southwest PROCAP deputies. Gilmore described a lifestyle of drugs and violence to include victims so intimidated, they would not contact law enforcement.
On February 25, 2008, PROCAP deputies responded to 4519 Windee Avenue, in Lakeland and recovered a fully operable anti-tank weapon. The weapon, a PIAT Mk I (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank Mk I) is a British made shoulder fired anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Several witnesses told deputies that Gilmore and Carden had fired the Anti-tank weapon into Lake Parker in late 2007.
All together 21 firearms (to include the PIAT and two fully automatic machine guns) and 14 stolen vehicles were recovered, and 2 chop shops were dismantled and linked to the Carden organization. A total of 30 subjects (including Carden and Gilmore) have been arrested since the summer of 2007 and have been identified as being part of the Carden organization.