(AP) - A Florida gang member has pleaded guilty in a drug and arms conspiracy after he tried to trade guns for cocaine with federal agents he believed were members of a Mexican drug cartel.
Lawrence James Panka pleaded guilty Friday in McAllen, concluding a case that included a month long undercover sting operation that began in Pharr, Texas and ended in December in Sarasota, Fla.
The McAllen Monitor reports that on Dec. 11, Panka thought he was trading guns for cocaine with members of a Mexican drug cartel. But the men he met were agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Panka wanted to trade or sell automatic rifles for either $2,000 each or one ounce of cocaine per firearm.
Two other men are charged as co-conspirators.