Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Ex-Carson soldier pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot

JAKOB RODGERS Updated: September 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

A former Fort Carson officer accused of trying to organize a four-person kill team and a national drug-trafficking ring pleaded guilty Wednesday to three charges stemming from the alleged plots.

Kevin Corley, 29, a Fort Carson 1st lieutenant who was discharged from the Army in March, faces 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Texas.

Corley also faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and at least another five years for carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the agency said.

No sentencing date has been set, said Angela Dodge, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.

The pleas come nearly a year after federal prosecutors allege Corley spoke with undercover agents posing as los Zetas cartel members about purchasing weapons and training cartel members.

Corley’s offers soon ballooned to include “wet work,” which federal agents took to mean contract killings, as well plans to ship hundreds of kilograms of marijuana, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Under the plan, Corley offered to partner with a Fort Carson sergeant and assemble a four-person kill team that would raid a rival drug cartel’s ranch and steal 20 kilograms of cocaine, the complaint said.

Corley boasted that weapons could easily be stolen from the military, prosecutors alleged.

During planning meetings for the “wet work,” Corley sold agents two AR-15-type assault rifles, ballistic vests, Army training manuals and other equipment for $16,000, the complaint said.

Federal agents arrested Corley on March 24 in Laredo, Texas as he and several men finalized plans with undercover agents to raid the ranch.

Agents fatally shot Corley’s cousin — and alleged team member — Jerome Corley, as they moved in to make the arrests.

Samuel Walker, 28, a Fort Carson sergeant at the time of his arrest, is awaiting trial on allegations he would help carry out the killings, Dodge said.

Five other men with ties to the case were arrested.

A trial is pending for Calvin Epps, 28, who is accused of offering to distribute marijuana in South Carolina, the agency said.

Shavar Davis, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping with the murder-for-hire plot, as well as a related drug charge, the agency said. Mario Corley, 40, Robert Corley, 23, and Marcus Mickle, 21, entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in recent weeks on drug charges.

Mickle also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the agency said.

Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter @jakobrodgers

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