Two former Louisiana State University football players were connected to New Orleans’ savage Hankton drug empire. The leaders of the Hankton organization were all convicted of racketeering and murder charges in federal court last week. LSU’s Baton Rouge campus is less than an hour drive from New Orleans and the Hanktons’ Central City district stomping grounds.
Troy Hankton, a 31-year old former LSU defensive back and the baby cousin of Big Easy kingpin “Wild Telly” Hankton, pled guilty back in May to being part of his family’s drug conspiracy and taking part in a 2007 shooting. Former LSU wide receiver and New Orleans car wash owner Nemessis (Nemo) Bates was found guilty last summer of paying Telly Hankton’s top hit man Walter (Moonie) Porter $20,000 to kill an employee of his he suspected of stealing from him.
The shooting the younger Hankton admitted his involvement in occurred in the spring of 2007 and was an attack on three renegade Hankton organization lieutenants sitting in a parked vehicle. Graduating on the honor roll from Cohen High School in 2002 after being a two-time league MVP and all-state selection as a cornerback (8 career interceptions, 2 returned for touchdowns), he was recruited to LSU by then-Tigers head coach Nick Saban, now at Alabama. He was considered a three-star prospect (out of five). Redshirting for the 2002 season, Hankton left the program in the summer of 2003 in the months preceding Saban guiding LSU to its’ first National Championship in over 40 years.
The Hankton family’s kingdom of crime was founded by Wild Telly’s first cousin, George (Cup) Hankton in the early 1990s. Wild Telly and several additional Hankton cousins and brothers joined him in the mid-1990s and the Hankton crew grew to be the biggest, most dangerous drug gang in Bayou history.
In 2004, the Hanktons went to war with a breakoff faction of their own group led by Brian (Pluck) Broussard and Darnell (Durney) Stewart. Broussard was shot in 2005. On April 12, 2007, Troy and Telly Hankton caught Stewart, his best friend and right-hand man Jesse (Tu Tu) Reed and their driver Karim (K-Ice) Peters idling in Peters’ car and opened fire on them from their own vehicle, wounding Peters in the shoulder.
The following December, Cup Hankton was slain, gunned down in front of a gas station allegedly by Stewart and Reed. Telly Hankton killed both Stewart and Reed in 2008 and 2009, respectively, having carried out Reed’s murder with Moonie Porter while out on one-million dollars bail tied to charges arising from the Stewart slaying.
Nemo Bates prepped in the Big Easy at St. Augustine and played wide receiver at LSU in the late 1990s before transferring to Southern University where he finished out his collegiate eligibility on the gridiron. After his football career was over, he opened a car wash on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans. Upon coming to the conclusion that a car wash employee and associate of his named Christopher (Tiger) Smith had stolen cash and jewelry from his home, Bates hired Moonie Porter and another known hit man, Aaron (Beadie) Smith – no relation to the victim – to kill Tiger Smith for 20K.
Porter, famous for using two automatic weapons at the same time on his hits, shot Tiger Smith more than 20 times in front of his apartment building on November 21, 2010. He was found guilty of Smith’s slaying in March. Bates, 38, was convicted for orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot last year and sentenced to life in prison.
LSU is currently coached on the football field by Les Miles, who like his predecessor, Saban, has led the Tigers to a National Championship (2007). Last fall, LSU went 9-3. The most-recent preseason poll released by ESPN slots Miles and the Tigers at No. 6 in the country to begin the 2016 campaign next month.