March 27, 2012
(Reuters) - A U.S. federal agent shot dead one of four men facing arrest in South Texas for being part of a murder-for-hire squad enlisted by undercover agents posing as Mexican drug cartel members, according to court documents released on Monday.
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot Jerome Corley on Saturday in Laredo, Texas, where federal authorities busted three men, including an Army sergeant and a recently discharged officer, who thought they would be hired as assassins for Mexico's brutal Zetas drug cartel.
The Zetas was founded around a group of elite Mexican troops that went rogue to work for the Gulf cartel, south of Texas. They later split to build their own extremely violent and well armed group involved in drug trafficking, kidnap and extortion.
Among the arrested was Corley's cousin Kevin Corley, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo., who served in Afghanistan and was discharged from the Army on March 13, according to an Army spokeswoman; Samuel Walker, 28, of Colorado Springs, an active-duty sergeant, according to a spokeswoman at Fort Carson; and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver.
The DEA launched the sting operation in January 2011, after two men in South Carolina told undercover agents posing as Zetas members about Kevin Corley, who the men said could sell the agents fully automatic weapons and sniper rifles, a criminal complaint states.
Kevin Corley told undercover agents that he was an Army officer who trained soldiers and could provide a murder-for-hire team to raid a ranch and recover 20 kilograms of cocaine stolen by a rival cartel, the complaint states.
He said he would carry out the contract killing with his cousin for $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine, the complaint states. He offered to refund the money if the team did not retrieve the Zetas' cocaine and execute their rival.
On March 5, Kevin Corley sold two AR-15 assault rifles with scopes, an Airsoft assault rifle, five stolen ballistic vests and other equipment to an undercover DEA agent for $10,000 in Colorado Springs, Colo., prosecutors said.