A tale of intrigue involving a murder for hire, gun running, and drug trafficking emerged from Laredo over the weekend.

According to a five-page federal criminal complaint that reads as if it were torn from pages of Breaking Bad, Laredo DEA agents posing as Los Zetas cartel members netted a former Army officer and two others in a sting operation. A fourth man, Jerome Corley, was shot and killed as DEA agents attempted to arrest him. Two others connected to the investigation were nabbed in South Carolina.

Agents arrested Jerome’s cousin, Kevin Corley, who was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army until his discharge on March 13 and had done a tour in Afghanistan, as well as active-duty sergeant Samuel Walker, and Shavar Davis, Reuters reported.

The criminal complaint alleges that the men had traveled to Laredo to participate in a murder-for-hire plot in exchange for $50,000 and five kilos of cocaine. The complaint contains some damning details, including: “Kevin Corley told the undercover agent he had bought a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a ‘Z’ into the victim’s chest and was planning on buying a hatchet to dismember the body.”

The investigation began in January 2011, when one of the South Carolina men contacted agents about setting up a regular delivery of 500 pounds of marijuana, the complaint says. That initial contact escalated into offers to furnish the agents with stolen guns and grenades smuggled off military bases. Kevin Corley offered to draw on his military experience to train cartel members.

Eventually, the men agreed to engage in “wet work,” a euphemism for a contract killing. The four-member “kill team” met with agents in Laredo on March 24 and discussed “the location of the intended victim, the logistics of performing the contract kill, and their respective roles,” the complaint says. An arrest team swooped in on the men later that day and the men were charged in federal court in Laredo on Monday.

Read the complaint in full below:

United States v. Corley