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Dahlonega-based soldiers denied bond

POSTED: February 17, 2008 5:05 a.m.
A U.S. magistrate judge denied bond late Monday for four Dahlonega-based soldiers charged in a conspiracy to rob cocaine dealers at gunpoint.

Carlos Lopez, 30; David Ray White, 28; Randy Spivey, 32; and Stefan Andre Champagne, 28, were denied bond after Judge Alan Baverman heard two days of testimony and arguments in the case, said Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office. They remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Lopez, White and Spivey are Army Rangers and Champagne is an Army medic. They were stationed at Dahlonega’s Camp Frank D. Merrill.

Federal prosecutors say an undercover ATF agent got the men to go along with a plan to storm a cocaine "stash house" and rob the occupants of about 25 kilograms of cocaine at gunpoint. The agent told the men he worked as a guard for a Mexican drug cartel but was willing to turn on his employers for a cut of the stolen drugs.

There was no cocaine or stash house. The men were arrested in Sandy Springs after meeting with the agent prior to the planned mission.

According to court testimony, the ATF first became aware of the soldiers’ desire to rob drug dealers during the investigation of an arson at an Atlanta strip club. Club Onyx, located on Cheshire Bridge Road, burned in January 2007. Authorities eventually identified 44-year-old Sandeo Pablo Dyson, an Army medic assigned to Camp Merrill, as a suspect in the arson.

Prosecutors said that during a conversation with an informant, Dyson broached the subject of robbing a drug stash house with the help of four other soldiers. From there, an undercover ATF agent initiated the fictitious plan, according to prosecutors.

Dyson was later transferred to Fort Carson, Colo., where he was arrested Jan. 30. He also remains in federal custody after an initial court appearance in Denver.



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