On Jan. 2, after Jones’ pleaded guilty but before Cranford’s arrest, Cranford called a felon of his acquaintance who isn’t named in court documents, according to Monday’s court filing. They arranged a meeting, which took place Jan. 9. That felon, identified in Monday’s filing as “Person A,” contacted federal authorities before the meeting took place. The meeting was secretly monitored and recorded by the FBI, according to Monday’s filing.
“He’s in Philadelphia. He’s in south Jersey. (Whispered) He needs to go away. He needs to be gone,” Cranford said of Jones, according to the FBI transcript of the Jan. 9 meeting. Monday’s court filing says “While making this statement to Person A, Person A told agents that Cranford used his hand to make a gun-shooting gesture.”
The murder-for-hire scheme is under investigation in the Western District of Arkansas and no charges for it have been filed as of yet, Monday’s court filing says.
The United States further respectfully submits that a preponderance of the evidence establishes there is a serious risk Cranford will flee, specifically the facts that: (1) in late January or early February, Cranford vacated his executive apartment in Bentonville, Arkansas, without having provided notice to his landlord, or leaving a forwarding address; (2) immediately prior to his arrest, Cranford sought to liquidate assets; (3) at the time of his arrest, Cranford was living at a house belonging to an associate, to which he could not be connected by any public records; (4) at the time of his arrest, Cranford was found to have altered his appearance by growing out and coloring his hair; (5) at the time of his arrest, Cranford had in his backpack a large um of cash, specifically, $17,700.00, all in one-hundred-dollar bills; and (6) in addition to the charges set forth in the Indictment, Cranford is likely to face significant additional charges in more than one federal district, and advisory sentences of up to life imprisonment under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, should he be convicted
Person A: What’s he to you? [Name redacted]?Former Rep. Eddie Cooper of Melbourne, who's also pleaded guilty to participating in the Preferred Family scheme, made tape recordings of conversations with Cranford, too. He described Cranford as a cocaine user and heavy gambler — one call by Cooper was answered by Cranford at the Horseshoe Casino in Shreveport. He said Cranford bets hundreds of thousands on individual bets.
Cranford: Oh nothin’. I tore up with him. I went to high school with him. That’s how he knew me. So that’s why his daddy and them hired me. So, those comments have been made – that there’s no way that he could have
Person A: Done anything.
Cranford: …accomplished all this shit without being dirty.
Person A: (coughing)
Cranford: Well f*ck that. Show me where I’m dirty. I mean, yeah, have I wrote a hell of a lot of-have I paid a hell of a lot of politicians? I sure have over the years. A shit load of money.
Person A: Umm-hmm
Cranford: But I’ve wrote them all checks, so there’s paper trail of everything I wrote.
Person A: Umm-hmm.
Cranford: If motherf*ckers tryin’ to buy somebody, they ain’t going to write ‘em a check for it.