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Dueling statistics used at hearing on racial bias in stings

Dueling experts deployed statistics to make their case Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago in a first-of-its-kind hearing to determine if phony drug stash-house stings run by federal agents dating back to the 1990s are racially biased.

More than 40 people convicted in such stings could go free if a special nine-judge panel eventually rules that discrimination underpins the stings. The operations run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives typically involve agents posing as cartel couriers who talk suspects into agreeing to rob drugs that don't exist from stash houses that are also fictitious.

While the same question has come up in courts...