From the Orlando Sentinel

A federal investigation of illegal gun sales led to the arrest Wednesday of a Walt Disney World security guard in a murder-for-hire plot. The plot involved a $2,000 down payment made more than a week ago to an ex-convict described by law-enforcement agents as an underworld gun dealer with a history of violence.

"They were going to do it. They were definitely going to do it," said Special Agent Supervisor Wayne Ivey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Parl Dicks, the Disney employee, admitted late Wednesday that he sought to have his wife's ex-husband killed for $4,000 to settle a child-custody dispute, Ivey said.

The arrest was made at Disney's Fort Wilderness campground by members of FDLE; the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of Disney security.

Days earlier, Gerson "Olaf" Yellen had been picked up at his home in Osceola County, where the burly ex-convict is accused of making submachine guns and selling them to drug dealers, according to federal court records in Orlando.

"That's fine; I can make a ton of these," Yellen, 36, said of selling an automatic AK-47, according to a conversation recorded secretly by ATF.

An AK-47 and a 9 mm Sten submachine gun were seized in the investigation, records show.

"God only knows how many of these firearms he has put out on the streets," said Agent Carlos Baixauli, an ATF spokesman. "That's why we jumped on this as fast as we could. . . With one trigger pull, you can throw out a magazine that's full of 32 rounds in seconds."

The weapons investigation began shortly before Christmas when an informant told ATF that Yellen gave him a Sten gun and $750 to kill someone, court records show.

The target of the murder plot was not named Wednesday by authorities, but court records indicate the plot had been researched to the point that the killing was planned so a nearby neighbor, an Orange County deputy, would be at work.

The informant admitted to ATF he once helped Yellen pistol-whip and shoot a victim in the head, records show.

Arrest reports in Palm Beach County and state prison records show Yellen was arrested repeatedly in the late 1980s and early 1990s on burglary, gun and assault charges.

His convictions included serving time in state prison for stealing guns from a home in Boynton Beach, according to court records and an interview with Boynton Beach police.

Dicks, a marksman in Olympic-style shooting events, told agents that he met Yellen through their mutual interest in firearms.

In March, Yellen, his wife and their two children under age 3 rented a house on Boxwood Court in Buenaventura Lakes, an Osceola County subdivision with 22,000 residents, records show.

Within weeks, neighbors on the crowded street of 25 one-fifth-acre lots began hearing banging from Yellen's garage.

"We thought it was fireworks," one homeowner said. "I know my husband and I discussed it: 'Doesn't that sound like gunshots?' But it couldn't be, we said."

She and three other homeowners did not want to be identified, saying they feared their tattooed and pierced 250-pound neighbor, whom they described as rude and surly in the best of moods.

Several months ago, one them questioned Yellen about the noise coming from his garage almost every afternoon.

"It was always the same," the man said, making rapid tat-tat-tat sounds with the tip of his tongue. "He got this close to me -- right in my face -- and said, 'Mind your own business.' "

During the investigation, Yellen took an undercover ATF agent into the garage and said that was where he test-fired the submachine guns he made by converting semiautomatic assault weapons with mail-order parts, according to the agent's affidavit.

"This is my shooting gallery," the agent said Yellen told him.

The agent said he paid Yellen $1,200 for an AK-47 that was offered with a loaded 40-round magazine and six loaded 30-round magazines. Yellen offered the agent two more submachine guns to do the killing, according to the affidavit.

Dicks, who lives in Osceola County, was charged with solicitation to commit murder. As of late Wednesday, he had not been booked at the Osceola County Jail, where he was to be held without bail.

A Disney employee since 1996, Dicks has been placed on administrative leave, Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

Yellen remains held without bail in the Orange County Jail on federal firearms charges.

State and federal laws prohibit felons from possessing firearms. If convicted of possession of a firearm, Yellen faces a minimum sentence with added penalties for possession of an unlicensed automatic weapon.