Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:30 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:30:30 GMT
HENDERSON, Nev. -- The killing of a woman in 1996 has police asking the public for help in solving the cold case crime. Diane Hietbrink, 58, was found dead in her home at 302 Nebraska Street on Sept.More>>
The killing of a woman in 1996 has police asking the public for help in solving the cold case crime.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:38 PM EDT2013-06-19 20:38:39 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating a crash involving a motorcyclist and a truck. Police say the motorcyclist slammed into the back of a truck on the Sahara westbound exit from I-15 south. TheMore>>
Metro Police are investigating a crash involving a motorcyclist and a truck.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 3:33 PM EDT2013-06-19 19:33:59 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Sue Lowden, a former state senator and the former chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party is considering a run for lieutenant governor in 2014. "I am seriously thinking about it. I willMore>>
Sue Lowden, a former state senator and the former chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party is considering a run for lieutenant governor in 2014.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 3:22 PM EDT2013-06-19 19:22:50 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a reboundMore>>
Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a rebound are emerging.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 3:08 PM EDT2013-06-19 19:08:06 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Akeem Tripp was sentenced to 20 years for the murder of his girlfriend's former boyfriend. Tripp pleaded guilty to murder in the shooting death of Phillip Hooks, 29, in March 2012 at theMore>>
Akeem Tripp was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years for the murder of his girlfriend's former boyfriend.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:27 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:27:50 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal accident on State Route 604 near Sloan Road. Drivers are urged to avoid the area. 8 News NOW will have more information as it becomes availaMore>>
Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash on State Route 604 near Sloan Road that occurred around 8:15 a.m.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:38 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:38:50 GMT
HENDERSON -- Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson." The swimmingMore>>
Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson."More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:00 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:00:12 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel. The Florida based company is remaining tight lipped on any ofMore>>
US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 12:57 PM EDT2013-06-19 16:57:39 GMT
HENDERSON, Nev. - A garden oasis has sprouted at John C. Vanderburg Elementary School. The garden features everything from arugula to tomatoes to radishes, which some students had never of until now. "It'sMore>>
A Henderson teacher is bringing the importance of healthy food choices into her students' lives with a unique garden club. 8 News NOW is rewarding her efforts in this week's Acts of Kindness.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 12:56 PM EDT2013-06-19 16:56:57 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Be careful on the roads. Police across the valley are conducting a coordinated effort Wednesday to crack down on driving violations. Police will be looking for drivers who speed, run red lightsMore>>
Be careful on the roads. Police across the valley are conducting a coordinated effort Wednesday to crack down on driving violations.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- The federal case that unfolded against 10 men in the summer of 2008 read more like a Hollywood screenplay than a criminal indictment. It even had the code name "Operation Sin City Ink."
Now, more than three years later, the last defendant has been sentenced. Freeing those involved to talk about the controversial sting for the first time.
To the outside world, Hustler Tattoo was just another shop. But inside, undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were running a criminal enterprise, or so the bad guys thought right up until their arrests.
In a former life, the shop in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip, advertised one thing on the outside yet offered something else entirely within. Then, appropriately named Hustler Tattoo for 15 months ending in the summer of 2008, it served as a hangout for all manner of local low-life. Its back-room was a place for drug dealers, gang members and ex-cons to unload contraband like drugs and guns. The transactions were recorded on surveillance cameras.
Buyer: "How much for this?
Seller: "I'm trying to get a package deal for everything.
Buyer: "What do you want for the whole package?
Seller: "bleep man, like 14.
The Don Corleone of this criminal enterprise, agent Peter McCarthy with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, used sophisticated surveillance equipment. McCarthy and fellow agent Mark Gomez documented thousands of hours of undercover transactions.
"These were not novice criminals," said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Chittum who supervises the office that conducted the investigation. "They would brag, not the undercover agents, the bad guys would come in, brag about their criminal exploits. They would talk about committing robberies. They basically advertised and in many ways were looking for jobs so we presented them with opportunities," said Chittum.
In 2008, fictional plans for a take down style robbery of a cocaine stash house enticed shop regulars Deandre Patton and Christopher Sangalang. During numerous meetings with the agents, Sangalang in particular, seemed eager to prove he and his crew could do the job.
"I'm not tripping, I can do cowboy style, it ain't gonna be subtle. You know what I mean, they might know who the **** did it but," said Christopher Sangalang, who was unaware he was being recorded.
"If you feel more comfortable going in and smoking these dudes, I don't give a ****. I'm down for that, chips ahoy," said ATF Agent Peter McCarthy.
"Like I said, I did it for colors when I was young. I might as well do it for some green," said Sangalang.
Yet on May 15, 2008 instead of heavily armed drug-dealers, Sangalang and nine others faced an ATF special response team. Among the items recovered from the suspects were fake police badges, ski masks and guns.
"We try to focus our efforts on the worst of the worst criminals and try to target active, violent criminals and this case was an example of how we were able to do that by presenting them an opportunity," said Chittum.
All told the operation netted 58 firearms, 11 pounds of illegal drugs and more than two dozen criminal convictions.
"I think it's much more of a failure than it is a success," said attorney Lisa Rasmussen who represents Patton who is serving up to eight years in prison.
"I think they created crimes where none would have happened otherwise. I think it was an incredible waste of government money," said Rasmussen. She calls the operation "entrapment" and reserves her harshest criticism for the agents themselves -- McCarthy in particular --seen on surveillance video smoking a substance he identifies as Wizard Weed a legal herb that smells like marijuana.
"And it wasn't just the smoking. There were instances of McCarthy snorting off the desk. And then when we raised that, they said it's BC headache powder. It just didn't seem very plausible and none of it was documented," said Rasmussen.
The court however absolved the agents of wrongdoing denying a defense motion to dismiss the case based on outrageous government conduct. Instead, the "street theatre" performed in the back room of Hustler Tattoo ultimately closed with a captive audience now serving hundreds of years in prison.
"After 18 months when we finally took this case down. It was satisfying to arrest so many people who were engaged in such serious crimes," said Chittum.
Defense attorney Lisa Rasmussen tells the I-Team she has recently uncovered new evidence related to a criminal informant used in the sting. She plans to file a motion for a new trial in the near future.