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Dahlonega Rangers sentenced to prison for attempted drug theft

Rangers caught in DEA sting

POSTED: August 29, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Two Dahlonega-based Army Rangers were sentenced to a total of five years in federal prison Monday for their role in a scheme to rob drug traffickers of cocaine at gunpoint.

Carlos Lopez, 30, received a sentence of three years and David Ray White, 32, was sentenced to two years by U.S. District Court Judge Beverly Martin, according to Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Lopez earlier pleaded guilty to unlawfully conspiring to take cocaine by means of violence and fear of injury.

White also entered a guilty plea related to the case.

Prosecutors said Lopez, White and two others were caught in an undercover sting in which a DEA agent posed as a bodyguard for a drug trafficker who proposed an armed robbery of the dealer’s "stash house."

The Rangers agreed to the plan and expected to get at least 5 kilograms of cocaine in the heist, which they planned to sell, prosecutors said.

They were arrested in January when they arrived at a predetermined location in Sandy Springs armed with handguns, an assault rifle, gloves, ski masks and other equipment. There never was a "stash house."

"These men were prepared to commit serious acts of gun-related violence on U.S. soil," said Gregory Gant, the special agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Atlanta office

"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," he said in a prepared statement.

Lopez, White, Army medic Stefan Andre Champagne and decorated Iraq war veteran Randy Spivey were based out of Dahlonega’s Camp Frank D. Merrill when the plan was hatched.

"This is a sad day," U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia David Nahmias said in a prepared statement.

"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," he added.

Champagne and Spivey, who also have entered guilty pleas, are scheduled to be sentenced in September.



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