Place : Delta, Louisiana

Delta, LouisianaDelta is a village in Madison Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 239 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Tallulah Micropolitan Statistical Area.

As the birthplace of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African-American woman to become a millionaire by her own business achievements, it has been included as one of 26 featured sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Place : Warren County, Mississippi

Warren County MapWarren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 48,773.  Its county seat is Vicksburg.[2] Created by legislative act of 22 December 1809, Warren County is named for American Revolutionary War officer Joseph Warren.

Part of the Mississippi Delta and the historic cotton culture, Warren County is included in the Vicksburg, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Jackson-Vicksburg-Brookhaven, MS Combined Statistical Area.

Lonnie Raney : Sheriff with divided loyalties

warren-county-sheriffs-office-mississippiLonnie Raney (1958-2006).  Oldest son of Vernon and Maggie Raney; brother of Ronnie and Ginny Raney.  Elected sheriff of Warren County (Vicksburg, county seat) and is generally a well-liked an defective law enforcement officer.  However, one of his prime responsibilities was protecting his mother and brother in the pursuit of through their drug distribution enterprise.

When his sister-in-law Louanne Borden Raney murders his brother Ronnie, and pleads guilty to manslaughter she later refuses to testify in an FBI investigation into the Rainey family criminal activities and instead warns Lonnie of the FBI investigation.

In 2006 Lonnie is killed in a shootout while attempting to protect his brother and other members of the business when the FBI comes to serve warrants for their arrest.

Ronnie Raney : Basically a “good ol’ boy”

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Ronnie Raney (1962-2004).  Middle son of Vernon and Margaret “Maggie” Raney (Maggie) in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Married to and murdered by Louanne Borden (Raney).  His brother Lonnie is sheriff of Warren County.  He has a younger sister, Ginny.

Ronnie works for his mother distributing drugs and in general running the business.  He started out dealing at University of Mississippi where he meets anad seduces Louanne.  They begin living together in a shotgun house in Vicksburg and as Ronnie becomes more and more responsible for the operations of the Raney drug enterprise, Louanne also becomes involved in running a bar and trailer when her girls turn tricks.

Ronnie is a basically a “good ol’ boy” and means well, but has trouble controlling his temper. Because he feels intimidated by Louanne’s intelligence and background (she comes from a well-to-do Dallas family) he often resorts to threatening behavior, and even physical violence, when he is at a loss for any other way of controlling a situation.

After suffering from this kind of behavior for years, one day in 2004 Louanne kills him for continuing to get drunk and beat her. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to twenty years at the Mississippi state penitentiary.

Margaret “Maggie” Motts Raney : Matriarch of criminal family

Hwy 80, Minden, Louisiana

Margaret “Maggie” Motts Raney (1937- ).  Half-sister of Mildred Motts Hooper; aunt of Levi Hooper; wife of Vernon Raney; mother of Lonnie, Ronnie and Ginny Raney.

Delta_Farms_signMaggie Motts was born in Delta, Louisiana, a tiny hamlet at the Louisiana-Mississippi border,  just across the river from Vicksburg.  Because of a difficult home life, she often dreamed of getting out of Delta.  Vicksburg just across the river looked like a dream garden to her and she thought she’d do anything to get there.  She did: marrying Vernon Raney, nearly twice her age, but a good husband to her.

gettyimages-109913282They had three children, Lonnie, Ronnie and Ginny.  Maggie was an ambitious girl and decided early on to piggy-back a drug distribution business onto Vernon’s already prospering bootlegging enterprise.  After all, bootleg whiskey was going out of style since by the mid-‘60s, liquor by the drink was legal and there was little demand for bootleg whiskey except out of nostalgia.

Maggie got her oldest son, Lonnie elected sheriff as a way to offer protection for her and her second son, Ronnie, to operate the drug business with little interference from law enforcement. This they did and quickly established a distribution network of dealers from Natchez to Memphis.

Maggie lived to see both of her sons die violent deaths: Ronnie was murdered by his wife, Louanne Borden, and Lonnie was killed in a gun stand-off with rival drug dealers.  As the drug network wound down, Maggie grew into her role as grandmother to Ginny’s children, living a quiet life in Vicksburg.