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Georgia man gets 19 years for plot to rob undercover agents posing as drug dealers

March 25, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Georgia man gets 19 years for plot to rob undercover agents posing as drug dealers

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A Georgia man accused of a plotting the robbery of undercover federal agents posing as drug dealers was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say, Derrick L. Thomas, 44, of Georgia, was a member of a six-man group who were assembled to rob drug dealers of 20 kilos of cocaine at a building in February 2014.

However, there was nobody to rob that night.

The plot was discovered by officers and federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives after the purported ringleader of the crew told an informant he was looking for an opportunity to carry out a robbery.

The six men were apprehended in Fort Wayne and were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute at least 5 kilos of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Thomas entered a guilty plea last year and was subsequently sentenced Thursday to 19 years in a federal lockup in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. He was facing life behind bars and a penalty of $10 million.

According to the Journal-Gazette, authorities in Warsaw identified Floyd D. Thomas Jr. as a heroin dealer from Indianapolis in 2013. Investigators there notified ATF agents and U.S. DEA officials, and an informant later met with Floyd Thomas and agreed to purchase heroin.

He reportedly asked whether the informant “had anyone that (he) ‘could wipe down or stick up,’” an affidavit signed by ATF Special Agent Sean T. Skender stated.

The statement pointed to a possible theft target.

After several encounters where Floyd Thomas sold heroin to the informant and undercover agents, investigators started to discuss a robbery plot with the suspect.

Onee federal agent said he’d been cheated by drug dealers who typically stored over 20 kilos of cocaine.

Floyd Thomas organized a group that authorities say included Derrick Thomas, Dwaine Bartlett, Prentice Bland, Richard Council and Richard Murray to rob the drug dealers in Fort Wayne.

The group went to an unidentified hotel in February 2014 and to another location to carry out the robbery. There, at least two of the men wore body armor as they prepared to carry out the robbery.

Clothing and hats marked with “police,” “narcotics” and “SWAT” were discovered in a car one of the men.

“As (an undercover agent) walked away from the group, the arrest team deployed distraction devices, and officers secured the arrest of the six suspects,” court records stated.

Loaded firearms and magazines to hold additional ammunition were recovered at the scene.

“The suspects were aware that the cocaine would be guarded by armed traffickers and, to steal the cocaine, the six members of the robbery crew would have to secure these guards,” Skender said.

Bland and Council entered guilty pleas in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and have not been sentenced. Murray pleaded guilty in last year and was sentenced to 17 years behind bars.

Cases against Bartlett and Floyd Thomas are still pending.

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