Feds drafted criminals to rob ‘fake’ Mexican drug cartel

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A guilty plea reveals more about a massive takedown by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in St. Louis.  The ATF arrested more than 200 suspects during undercover operations.

ATF agents and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers spent months infiltrating suspected drug gangs.  According to court affidavits, undercover officers would say they knew how to rob the Mexican drug cartel of dozens of kilos of cocaine.

Tray Ferguson admitted he took the bait.  He pleaded guilty Wednesday July 31st, to conspiring to distribute cocaine and carrying a gun to do it.  Agents seized four firearms from Ferguson and four other suspects arrested in the sting.  Federal agents described seizing a Glock, a Colt Python .357, a Hi-Point C9 9mm and a Springfield Armory XD .45 caliber.

Court documents reveal the fake plot was hatched in front of 1440 East Prarie in North City.  It`s the reported home of one of the suspects still waiting for his court date.  Court documents show the group agreed to rob the fictional drug cartel at a South St. Louis home.   A court affidavit indicates the suspects showed little hesitation and that one man said "my guys, that`s what they do around here."

Attorney Paul Sims said, "Some people look at it that they`re going to provide by any means necessary."

Sims is Ferguson`s attorney.  He fears the recent arrests leave a hole that gangs may want to fill.

Sims said, "Somebody`s gonna come in and take that spot.  These people are taken off the streets, they no longer control that area, so that`s open range."

Ferguson faced a murder charge that he pleaded down to voluntary manslaughter in 2007.  He was out on parole a few years later and charged with drug crimes before getting caught in this latest sting.  The ATF`s operation netted more than 200 suspects and generated dozens of cases we`ll continue tracking.

E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com
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