The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been running "sting operations" that recruit people to rob nonexistent drugs from fake stash houses.
So far, more than 1,000 people have been jailed thanks to the ATF's controversial program.
Suspects are recruited by undercover ATF agents to rob drugs from a supposed stash house. However, when the suspects arrive at the fake stash house, they find a small army of federal agents waiting to arrest them (video below).
The suspects are then charged for crimes such as plotting to steal and resell nonexistent illegal drugs.
"In the process, however, the agency also scooped up small-time drug dealers and even people with no criminal records at all, including Army Rangers," USA Today reports. "It has offered would-be robbers the chance to score millions of dollars of cocaine for a few hours of work. In at least one case, the ATF had to supply its supposed armed robbers with a gun."
Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago called the ATF sting a "disreputable tactic" that creates "an increased risk of entrapment because of the potential for the extensive use of inducements and unrealistic temptations to encourage the suspects' criminal conduct."
William Alexander (pictured), who was caught in the sting, is facing a minimum of 25 years in federal prison unless he cuts a deal with prosecutors.
Alexander's lawyer, Michael Falconer stated: "it's Orwellian that they have to create crime to prevent crime."
Source: USA Today