Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Wired' Informer Clues Police, FBI to 15 Suspects Investigation Lasted 14 Months

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Wired' Informer Clues Police, FBI to 15 Suspects Investigation Lasted 14 Months

Article excerpt

A murderer and a former Teamsters union "enforcer" accused of plotting a car-bombing are among 12 men arrested Wednesday with the help of an informer who secretly tape-recorded hundreds of hours of conversations. Police were looking for three more suspects.

Authorities say a 14-month undercover investigation led to a variety of state and federal charges. The men, for the most part, were linked only by their relationship to the informer.

The allegations include illegal gun sales, drug distribution and cheating insurance companies by falsely reporting thefts of two pickups and a bass boat.

Defendants include four current or former officers of Teamsters Local 600. Officials took pains to say that the union itself wasn't the target of the investigation.

Authorities said the bombing plot did not represent widespread thuggery at Local 600.

Authorities began making arrests before dawn Wednesday.

James W. Nelson, head of the FBI office here, said the investigation began when a career criminal began helping the Missouri Highway Patrol in an investigation.

Martin Dames, the informer, had been serving a 10-year sentence in state prison for receiving stolen property. He's now in federal protective custody. Nelson said authorities used Dames to tape-record conversations with his criminal associates.

Nelson said Dames was "wired" for 150 secretly recorded conversations at Local 600's office, in taverns, apartments and cars.

"These people have been involved in illegal activities most of their lives," Nelson said.

Several of the charges involved filing false insurance claims to collect on vehicles reported stolen.

The most serious charge in the series of federal indictments was the alleged plot to car-bomb Keith Milton, an employee of Yellow Freight here and a member of Local 600.

Authorities said the plot grew out of a fight between Milton and Larry Brown, a Local 600 business agent. …

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