Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 | 5:45 p.m.
The leader of a gang who planned to rob a cocaine stash house was sentenced Friday to 17.5 years in prison, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Daniel Bogden announced.
Christopher Sangalang, 36, is the fifth defendant convicted in a sting operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In an effort to catch Sangalang and his gang's members, federal agents began following and purchasing illegal guns and drugs from his group in February 2007. Agents opened a tattoo parlor, Huster's Tattoo Shop, 2640 S. Highland Ave., where they posed as organizers in the drug and weapons trade.
Agents "put the word out" that they were looking for illegal firearms and drugs to buy, officials said. In November 2007, the agents began buying guns and drugs from members of the gang, including Sangalang.
In spring 2008, the agents told the gang they were planning to rob a drug house and possibly kill anyone guarding it. The agents set up the planned robbery and invited the gang to meet at their tattoo parlor on May 15, 2008.
When the group met agents at the tattoo shop, the gang members dressed in black and brought their own ski masks and weapons to commit the crime, the justice department said.
Agents drove the gang members to a warehouse, where the suspects thought they would be getting into a rental van. Instead, agents arrested them.
During the arrests, officials said, agents found ski masks, fake police badges, a police scanner and flex handcuffs in the suspects' possession.
Deandre Patton, 33, Alfredo Flores, 24, and Sangalang were convicted 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.
Patton and Sangalang were also found guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, unlawful possession of shotguns, rifles and firearms. Sangalang was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Patton was sentenced to 8 years.
Roderick "Rod" Jones, Robert Williams and Derek Jones all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery as co-defendants in the case. The three each was sentenced to five years.