Indicted U.S. Soldier Allegedly Offered Military Weapons to Agents Posing as Los Zetas Cartel
(CNSNews.com) -- A U.S. Army soldier, now formerly active, has been indicted for his involvement in a crime ring that allegedly offered drug dealing, murder-for-hire services, military weapons, and combat training to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents who were posing as members of one of Mexico’s most violent narcotics cartels, Los Zetas.
The DEA began investigating the alleged crime ring in January 2011.
Reportedly involved in the criminal scheme were Kevin Corley, 29, who was discharged on March 13 after serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, and Samuel Walker, 28, who, until arrested for his involvement on March 24, was an active-duty officer, reported the Chicago Tribune on March 26. Both individuals are from Colorado Springs, Colo.
Corley “stated that he was currently an active duty officer in the Army responsible for training soldiers,” reads the criminal complaint filed by the DEA at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Corley Complaint (2).pdf). Corley “offered to provide tactical training for cartel members, including approaches, room clearing, security, and convoy security. Kevin Corley also offered to purchase weapons for the cartel under his name as long as he could destroy serial numbers.”
He “explained that weapons could easily be stolen from military posts, and he explained removing sear pins to make rifles fire faster,” adds the complaint.
Corley “thoroughly explained military tactics and told undercover agents he could train 40 cartel members in two weeks,” reads the complaint. “Kevin Corley said he had already discussed this opportunity with several experienced soldiers in his platoon who expressed interest in working with the cartel.”
In the several months following the start of the DEA’s investigation in January 2011, Corley reportedly said he could provide services to the cartels because of his training, experience, and access to information and equipment he had as an active duty soldier.
“On December 2, 2011, undercover agents received an Army Tactics Battle Book which Kevin Corley mailed to the agents” in Laredo, Texas, states the complaint.
That same month Corley “explained that he had one team prepared to help train cartel members to conduct ‘wet work’ at the direction of the cartel.” The agents believe “wet work” refers to murder for hire.
Corley traveled to Laredo on Jan. 7, to meet with undercover DEA agents and discuss the murder-for-hire scheme.
He “confirmed that he would conduct the contract killing with a small team, at a minimum comprised of himself, his cousin (Jerome Corley), and another active duty soldier (Samuel Walker) whom Kevin Corley had already consulted with about ‘wet work,’” states the complaint (Corley Complaint (2).pdf).
“Kevin Corley proposed a $50,000 fee to perform the contract killing and retrieve the 20 kilograms of cocaine, and Kevin Corley offered to refund the money if the victim survived,” states the complaint. “Kevin Corley also told the agents he would accept cocaine in lieu of the fee for his service, but ultimately agreed to accept $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine for a full team.”
“Kevin Corley told the undercover agent he had bought a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a ‘Z’ into the victim’s chest and was planning on buying a hatchet to dismember the body,” the criminal complaint states.
On March 5, in exchange for $10,000 he delivered two AR-15 assault rifles with scopes, an air-soft assault rifle for training, five allegedly stolen ballistic vests, and other miscellaneous equipment to an undercover agent in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“At the meeting, Corley and the undercover agent allegedly again discussed the contract killing and the retrieval of the cocaine, which was to occur on March 24, 2012,” adds the complaint.
Besides Corley and Walker, the complaint charges Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, Colo. They were all arrested in Laredo, Texas on March 24 after they met with undercover agents to discuss “the location of the intended victim, the logistics of performing the contract kill and their respective roles,” states a DEA press release.
“The three were arrested, during which time a fourth suspect was shot and killed. A subsequent search of the vehicle in which Corley and the other co-conspirators arrived revealed two semi-automatic rifles with scopes, one bolt-action rifle with a scope and bipod, one hatchet, one Ka-Bar knife, one bag of .223 caliber ammunition and one box of .300 caliber ammunition,” reads the complaint (Corley Complaint (2).pdf).
According to the criminal complaint Corley, Walker, and Davis are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, which carries a potential sentence of a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and/or a $10 million fine.
They were also charged with the use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking or violent crime, which could result in up to 10 years.
Other individuals arrested in connection with the case include Marcus Mickle, 20, and Calvin Epps, 26, both of Hopkins, S.C., and Mario Corley, 40, of Saginaw, Texas.
“Those charged in the indictment for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, including Corley, Mickle and Epps, also face five to 40 years in prison if convicted,” explained the DEA in its press release.
The DEA and FBI with assistance from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation carried out the investigation.