Federal authorities have broken up an alleged murder-for-hire plot involving U.S. soldiers based in Colorado, who allegedly thought they were offering an array of hit squad services to Mexican Zeta drug cartel members, and who were also involved in a broader national drug ring.
The Colorado Springs Gazette has the details on the chilling story:
"A former Fort Carson officer allegedly offered to steal weapons from the post and organize a murder-for-hire plot with another soldier as part of a nationwide drug-trafficking ring they tried to run, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday. 1st Lt. Kevin Corley, 29, who was discharged from the Army earlier this month, was arrested Saturday in Laredo, Texas, while finalizing details with undercover agents for the contract killing, according to a criminal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Texas.
Corley later admitted to federal agents that he organized a four-person kill team to raid a ranch in Texas and steal 20 kilograms of cocaine, the complaint said. Two of those alleged team members — including a sergeant at Fort Carson — were arrested Saturday in the sting, the complaint said. The final alleged member — Corley’s cousin, Jerome Corley — was shot to death while federal agents moved in to arrest the men."
Corley was first talked to by undercover agents on Sept. 26 after they noticed a picture of a grenade they deduced has been smuggled off from the military post.
Prosecutors allege that over the course of several months Corley offered tactical training to undercover agents posing as Zetas drug cartel members, including “room clearing, security and convoy security.” The Chicago Tribune reports that the feds also claim the suspects offered to sell them sniper rifles and fully automatic weapons.
The sting operation reached its climax on Saturday in Laredo, Texas, when agents received confirmation that Corley and his three associates were ready to move on the cartel assassination plot, according to the criminal complaint released in court on Monday.
According to the Chicago Tribune's description of the criminal complaint, Corley allegedly discussed the murder-for-hire job with the undercover agent, "saying he had purchased a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a "Z" in the victim's chest a calling card of the Zetas cartel and a hatchet to dismember his body."
Authorities claim the undercover officers called for backup to swoop in and arrest the suspects and during the apprehension effort, a federal agent fired several rounds that struck and killed Jerome Corley.
Kevin Corley, Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28 — both of Colorado Springs — and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, are scheduled to appear in a Texas courtroom for a detention hearing on Thursday.
(H/T: Business Insider)