Undercover ATF agent infiltrates 'sophisticated' theft ring

Updated:

Loading

DeLAND, Fla. - Investigators said a group of men targeted specific victims in a string of violent Seminole County home invasions.

Federal investigators said they able to infiltrate the group and set up a sting operation to catch the men before they could pull off another robbery.

In a home along Spring Garden Avenue in DeLand, federal investigators said four men stashed handguns and high-powered rifles to pull off what they thought would be a violent robbery.

Trevor Velinor, assistant special agent in charge with ATF, told WFTV the group was sophisticated. They said the men were pulling off home invasion robberies, often targeting Mexicans with drugs.

A police informant said one of the men, Dexter Mims, had been bragging about a jewelry job in Orlando.

The ATF stepped in and an undercover agent posed as a drug courier, running large amounts of cocaine. He called a meeting at Chili's in DeLand and persuaded the crew to help steal nearly 20 kilograms of cocaine from his boss, saying they would split the drugs.

The men told investigators they already had a buyer for their half of the cocaine. Investigators said Mims told him the drug robbery would be no problem and that they would burst into the stash house with the weapons, firing and kill people for the drugs if necessary.

The men agreed to meet the undercover agent at DeLand Self Storage to pick up a getaway car, which is where agents arrested them.

WFTV learned three of the suspects have served time in state prison. All of the suspects are facing charges for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but ATF agents said the investigation is ongoing.

All of the suspects are being held in the Seminole County Jail without bond.