Men Convicted of Plan to Rob Drug Stash House
Las Vegas, Nev. – Following a two-week trial, a federal jury today convicted three local men of conspiring to commit a violent robbery of a home in Las Vegas in order to steal a large quantity of cocaine, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Christopher Sangalang, 35, Alfredo Flores, 24, and Deandre Patton, 33, all of Las Vegas, Nevada, were convicted of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. They face 15 years to life in prison and fines up to $4,000,000, and are scheduled to be sentenced on July 9, 2010, before the Honorable United States District Judge James Mahan.
"Following the indictments in this case, Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were subjected to allegations about their integrity and professionalism," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "The Court rejected the allegations, and the jury has now spoken. Agents put themselves at great risk whenever they engage in a proactive operation – solely to protect the public from violent criminals. The purpose of conducting a sting operation is to intercept criminals before they commit actual, violent crimes. We commend ATF for their efforts."
Beginning in February 2007, ATF Special Agents began an undercover investigation of gang members who were suspected of gun and drug trafficking as well as committing home invasion robberies in the Las Vegas area. The investigation included the operation of a tattoo shop at 2640 South Highland Avenue in Las Vegas, called Hustler's Tattoo Shop. Undercover agents posing as criminal operatives, purchased guns and drugs from the defendants beginning in November 2007. When defendants learned about the formation of a "crew" that would rob a drug house, another undercover agent was introduced to the defendants, who thought that he was a disgruntled drug courier. The agents told the defendants that they were looking for some individuals to commit an armed robbery of a heavily guarded "drug house" where large quantities of cocaine and money was stored. Defendants Flores and Sangalang advised the undercover agents that they each had crews that could conduct such a robbery. Sangalang, Patton and Flores met numerous times with the undercover agents, discussing such details as impersonating police officers to gain access to the house. Sangalang advised that his crew of "killers" had conducted those sorts of robberies in the past, and that he would recruit "killers who can rob" from California.
On the day of the planned robbery, May 15, 2008, ATF agents arrested all of the defendants at an off-site warehouse. ATF agents recovered from the defendants their vehicles, five firearms, ammunition, knives, fake police badges, ski masks, a tactical vest, a police scanner, gloves and flex handcuffs.
"The acts of violent crime prevented as a result of this investigation will have long-lasting impact in Las Vegas and the communities we serve," said ATF's Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins. "The convictions of these individuals and the removal of this criminal element from our communities is an effort of which we are all proud."
Three co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. Roderick "Rod" Jones and Robert Williams were sentenced to five years in prison. Derek Jones, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2010.
The case was investigated by ATF, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul S. Padda and Kathleen Bliss.