Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Nevada

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 14, 2011

Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney

Contact: Natalie Collins
(702) 388-6508

Fifth Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Rob Cocaine Stash House

LAS VEGAS — The fifth defendant convicted in an ATF sting operation in which the conspirators planned a violent robbery of a cocaine stash house, was sentenced today to 17½ years in prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Christopher Sangalang, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan to 211 months (17½ years) in prison and five years of supervised release. Sangalang and co-defendants Deandre Patton, 33, and Alfredo Flores, 24, were convicted by a jury in April 2010 of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Sangalang’s sentence was increased because he was found to be an organizer or leader of the crime. Patton was sentenced on December 17, 2010, to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Flores is scheduled to be sentenced on February 16, 2011.

Violent criminals and armed robbery crews should take notice of this sentencing, said United States Attorney Bogden. The purpose of undercover sting operations is to intercept criminals before they commit actual, violent crimes. In this case, the organizer and leader of this crime gang will be spending a very long time in federal prison.

Armed robbery crews prey on the neighborhoods in which they traffic in drugs and guns, and they instill fear through intimidation and violence, said Stephen C. Herkins, Special Agent in Charge of ATF for Nevada. ATF’s priority is to combat violent crime. In this case ATF Agents in an undercover capacity purchased and intercepted several firearms and drugs that were earmarked for the black market. This is an excellent example of ATF doing what we do best, preventing criminals from possessing guns and keeping our communities safe.

In February 2007, ATF agents began investigating gang members suspected of gun trafficking and home invasion robberies in the Las Vegas area. As part of the investigation, undercover agents opened Hustler’s Tattoo Shop at 2640 South Highland Avenue. One undercover agent posed as the owner of the shop and the head of an illegal weapons and narcotics operation. Another undercover agent posed as the tattoo shop owner’s right-hand man. The undercover agents put the word out that they were interested in purchasing illegal firearms and narcotics.

Beginning in November 2007, the undercover agents began purchasing guns and drugs from defendants Sangalang, Patton and Flores. Beginning in the spring of 2008, the undercover agents told the defendants that they were looking for some individuals to commit an armed robbery of a heavily guarded drug house where large quantities of cocaine and money were stored. Defendants Flores and Sangalang advised the undercover agents that they could conduct such a robbery, and between April and May 2008, numerous meetings occurred between the undercover agents and the defendants to make plans for the robbery. The meetings included discussions of killing persons who were guarding the drug house.

On the day of the planned robbery, May 15, 2008, the defendants assembled at the tattoo shop in preparation to commit the robbery. The defendants were dressed in black and carried their own weapons and ski masks to the meeting. The defendants and undercover agents then drove to an off-site warehouse, where the defendants believed they would be getting into a rental van to travel to the robbery location. Instead, an ATF Swat Team was waiting to arrest the defendants. During the arrests, ATF agents recovered from the defendants, firearms, ammunition, knives, fake police badges, ski masks, a tactical vest, a police scanner, gloves and flex handcuffs.

In April 2010, Sangalang and Patton were also convicted separately, of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of shotguns, rifles and firearms with obliterated serial numbers, and sentenced in December to 11 and eight years in prison, respectively.

Three other co-defendants in the case, Roderick Rod Jones, Robert Williams, and Derek Jones, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, and were each sentenced to five years in prison.

The case was investigated by ATF, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Bliss.