Federal agents who lured suspects into plotting a robbery of a fictitious drug stash house did not commit "outrageous" misconduct, a federal appellate panel ruled Thursday, reversing a district court judge’s finding that the two men's due process rights were violated when they were nabbed in a sting, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates the criminal cases of the Los Angeles-area men -- Antuan Dunlap and Joseph Whitfield -- who had their cases thrown out earlier this year in a rare ruling by Judge Otis D. Wright.

The judge had strongly rebuked the tactics used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to entice the suspects to rob a non-existent house, writing that the sting tempted poor individuals with the promise of a quick payday and that agents had goaded defendants into acquiring weapons for the job.

The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit wrote, "The ATF targeted individuals who had already demonstrated an interest in committing robberies, and did little more than 'set the "bait"' by inventing a fictitious cocaine stash house they could rob."

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