Flush with $1,800 in U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency money meant for a drug sting, a Cahokia man who agreed to act as a confidential informer skipped out with the money instead, leaving his secret recording equipment in a trash can.
It didn't take agents long to track down Tori Arnold, 29, who has pleaded guilty in federal court in East St. Louis to stealing from the government and faces up to eight months in jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
According to court documents filed Wednesday, Arnold had told DEA agents last year he could buy crack cocaine from an East St. Louis dealer. A sting was arranged for Dec. 1, with Arnold wired by agents and supplied with cash. Arnold contacted the dealer, but they didn't meet. Arnold was supposed to return to a pre-arranged location, but he never showed.
Agents found his recorder and transmitter in the men's room trash can in a Cahokia convenience store. But after one day of searching, officials found Arnold at a St. Louis hotel with some of the $50 bills from the drug buy, confirmed through serial numbers or other means. More than $1,000 of the money was already gone.
Arnold has an extensive criminal past, but under federal guidelines he doesn't face much prison time. Prosecutors have agreed to request a four-month sentence, with half to be served on home confinement.