Updated: March 26, 2012 at 12:00 am
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.
Federal prosecutors did not immediately release details of how Jerome Corley died or who shot him.
Kevin Corley, Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28 — both of Colorado Springs — and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, are scheduled to appear Thursday in a Texas courtroom for a detention hearing.
Walker is assigned the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, a unit that Kevin Corley served with before his discharge.
Undercover agents first talked to Corley on Sept. 26 after discovering a picture of a grenade that was believed to be smuggled off of a military post, the complaint said.
Over several months, prosecutors allege that Corley offered tactical training to agents posing as drug cartel members, such as “room clearing, security and convoy security.”
He also boasted of provide weapons, which “could easily be stolen from military posts,” the complaint said.
And he repeatedly offered to conduct “wet work,” which agents took to mean contract killings, according to the complaint.
The whole plot spawned from a plan to ship 500 pounds of marijuana to Columbia, S.C., prosecutors said.
Two men, Marcus Mickle and Calvin Epps, first tried to organize the shipment with federal agents posing as Los Zetas cartel members, the complaint said.
The men brought Kevin Corley into the plan after undercover agents noticed the grenade picture.
In the months that followed, Corley allegedly told the agents he could assemble two teams — one that could train 40 cartel members in two weeks and another to carry out contract killings. Corley's military experience would have paid off on the job -- the brigade on its last Afghanistan mission trained Afghan troops in combat and counter-insurgency operations.
In early December, agents received an Army Tactics Battle Book in the mail from Corley, according to the complaint.
A month later, Corley offered to assemble a team to steal 20 kilograms of cocaine from a rival cartel, the complaint said. The agents posing as cartel members agreed, offering $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine for the job.
Corley also said he would provide security for the 500-pound shipment of marijuana slated to be trucked from Texas to South Carolina, according to the complaint.
The truck was pulled over and seized by federal agents in mid-January. Kevin Corley, Jerome Corley and Epps were driving in the vehicle ahead of the shipment and were not pulled over.
Despite the seizure, the complaint alleges that Kevin Corley continued trying to arrange for marijuana shipments in February and March to Mario Corley in South Carolina.
Federal agents also alleged that Kevin Corley continued planning the murder-for-hire plot.
On Saturday, Kevin Corley, Jerome Corley, Walker and Davis allegedly met with federal agents to carry out the killing, the complaint said.
After confirming their plans, federal agents moved in. During the arrest, Jerome Corley was fatally shot. The other three men were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mickle and Epps and Mario Corley were arrested in South Carolina, prosecutors said.