Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Army Rangers Sentenced for Conspiring to Rob Drug Traffickers

CARLOS LOPEZ, 30, and DAVID RAY WHITE, 32, both activeduty soldiers from Camp Frank D. Merrill, a United States Army Ranger mountain training facility in Dahlonega, Georgia, were sentenced today for their roles in a conspiracy to rob a cocaine dealer at gunpoint. LOPEZ, the leader of the conspiracy, received a term of three years in federal prison; WHITE was ordered to serve two years in federal prison. Co-conspirators STEFAN ANDRE CHAMPAGNE and RANDY SPIVEY are scheduled to be sentenced for their roles in the scheme in September.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This is a sad day. Soldiers who were willing to give their lives for this country are now convicted felons who will spend many months behind bars. Hopefully they have learned from their illegal and misguided actions.”

“These men were prepared to commit serious acts of gun-related violence on U.S. soil,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Gant of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Atlanta Field Division. “Their intentions and actions could have resulted in far greater tragedy. As one defendant aptly admitted, they have fallen from the ranks of the elite, to the depths of convicted felons.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court:

In November of 2007, LOPEZ and an unindicted co-conspirator began to meet with a cooperating source and an undercover agent to discuss the possibility of robbing a cocaine stash house of at least 25 kilograms of cocaine. LOPEZ and his army colleagues were to provide the weapons and force necessary to subdue the occupants of the stash house. Later, co-defendant CHAMPAGNE joined in the meetings. Finally, in January 2008, coconspirators WHITE and SPIVEY accompanied LOPEZ and CHAMPAGNE to a final planning session with the undercover agent, when the logistics of the assault on the stash house were confirmed. These meetings were all surreptitiously recorded.

On January 24, 2008, LOPEZ, WHITE, and CHAMPAGNE, equipped with gloves, ski masks, handguns and an assault rifle, assembled at the rendezvous point, ostensibly to set out for the armed assault on the stash house. They were taken into custody and later admitted to all elements of the conspiracy. SPIVEY had stayed behind at Camp Merrill to “cover” for his co-conspirators’ absence to their superior officers.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Further assistance was provided by the Sandy Springs Police Department's Tactical Special Operations Group.

Assistant United States Attorneys Zahra Karinshak and Robert McBurney are prosecuting this case.

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