July 22, 2014 Washington Post - The man with the diamond earrings passed out black-and-white photos showing the crew’s targets: a liquor store in Southeast Washington and its owner, a Mexican drug dealer. In the trunk of the getaway car were two machetes, three guns and enough wire to tie up the owner before taking off with a pile of cash and cocaine.

“We’ve done this . . . too many times, too many times,” one of the men bragged, insisting that his crew, suspected members of the Street Thug Criminals gang, was ready.

But the robbery was not real — not the target or the victim. The man with the earrings was an undercover police officer who had spent weeks gaining the trust of a crew leader. Waiting outside the room where the men had gathered was a SWAT team armed with semiautomatic weapons.

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