It only took a month for 15-year-old Katherine Arandez to write a book about multimillion-dollar-grossing drug kingpin Craig Petties.
BMF Smuggler: The World is Ours takes readers on a journey from Petties' early days as a drug dealer in South Memphis to his becoming a prominent figure in the country's cocaine trade and subsequent downfall. He was responsible for orchestrating numerous murders along the way.
"This is a story about redemption. It's a cautionary tale," Arandez said. "Petties is trying to gain more power throughout the entire book. He starts out small and rises up through the ranks of the drug [trade]. But under all of his confidence and achievements, he regrets the things he's done, and he wants to get out of the life."
The 120-page book highlights how Petties developed ties with two notorious drug organizations: the Black Mafia Family (BMF) and the Beltran-Leyva cartel. This year, Petties was sentenced to nine life sentences in federal prison after being convicted of various drug and murder charges.
BMF Smuggler also provides readers with a look inside Petties' relationship with his mother. Although he generated millions of dollars, his mother refused to accept money from him.
"He had a very close relationship with his mother, especially before he got into drug smuggling," Arandez said. "She raised him in a church, so he was religious from a very young age. That fascinated me from a writing standpoint."
Drug Enforcement Administration agent Abe Collins is also a lead character in the book. Collins is responsible for leading the decade-long investigation that ended Petties' drug reign.
"The book is split between [Collins'] point of view and Craig's point of view, so I'm telling their stories simultaneously until they kind of merge," Arandez said. "He's a very dedicated agent. He wants to get Petties off the streets and stop him from distributing drugs that he sees every day ruining lives. And it's personal for him too, because he has members of his family who are affected by drugs."
The book was co-authored by filmmaker Tracy Lavell Matthews, who obtained a significant amount of information on Petties and his drug escapades from Collins over a two-year period. Initially, Matthews was going to use the information for his movie, Smuggler, but decided to translate his screenplay into a book.
"I wanted to enlighten the readers about what's going on in Mexico and in our cities here in America and the travesties of this drug culture," Matthews said.
Matthews plans to begin production of Smuggler in 2014. He said he's already secured several well-known actors for the film and has received nearly $1 million from investors. The film is budgeted at $3.7 million, and he says about four more investors are needed to commence production.
BMF Smuggler is Arandez's second published book. Her previous novel, Weaver, is a science-fiction/fantasy literary work.
Arandez said she hopes BMF Smuggler delivers a message to youth that it's not wise to get involved in the street life.
"It sends out a very strong message, especially to the youth of not only Memphis but the entire world, to stay with the right crowd," Arandez said. "Craig Petties was a very intelligent man. He could have done a lot of great things in his life, but when he was young, he just got mixed up with the wrong people and started down the wrong path. It's a shame, really."
The self-published work can be purchased on Arandez' website, kawriter.com.