Ever since their son was killed in 2014, Tammy and John Sadek have been dedicated to helping ensure the tragedy that claimed the life of their son does not occur to any other family in North Dakota. In 2014, their son Andrew was working with law enforcement as a confidential drug informant when he was found in a river with a gunshot wound to his head and a backpack full of rocks attached to his body. Andrew had never been in any legal trouble, yet he was told by law enforcement that he was going to be charged with delivery of marijuana and was facing up to 40 years in prison for selling $80 of pot to another informant, unless he agreed to act as a CI himself. Andrew was told not to talk to anyone and that if he didn’t do CI work his life would be ruined. Andrew was not made aware of the risks of being confidential informants and thus the family and their attorneys sprung into action lobbying the legislature for change.
“Andrew’s Law,” as the new legislative effort on behalf of confidential informants is named, requires police to provide confidential informants with certain information before utilizing them for undercover operations. This information would include an “informant’s bill of rights,” a written agreement outlining the risks to which the informant may be exposing him- or herself, and the option to consult with an attorney prior to becoming a confidential informant. The law was passed and signed by the North Dakota Legislature and Governor in April.
Becoming a Confidential Informant for Law Enforcement
Individuals who have little to no criminal record and who are found to be involved with drug-related crimes may be approached by law enforcement any time and offered the opportunity to work as a confidential informant. As a confidential informant, these individuals are expected to assist law enforcement by participating in controlled drug buys and/or providing information to law enforcement concerning known drug dealers and distributors. Andrew’s law provides protections for the potential informant by setting forth requirements law enforcement must follow while utilizing a confidential informant, including information that must be provided to the potential informant, boundaries for the informant agreement, benefits provided as a result of becoming a confidential informant, as well as training/certification requirements for the agencies that are allowed to utilize confidential informants.
As Andrew’s case illustrates, however, there are dangers to becoming a confidential informant. Just because one is working as a “confidential” informant does not mean that the person’s identity is guaranteed to remain confidential.
When You are Approached to be a Confidential Informant
While being a confidential informant may seem like an ideal way to resolve your criminal drug charges, it is a path that can be fraught with peril. When you are charged with drug crimes, the better course of action is to first speak with an experienced and knowledgeable North Dakota and Minnesota criminal defense attorney first, such as Tatum O’Brien from O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss. There may be other methods to successfully resolve your charges short of jeopardizing your safety. Contact our firm online, or call 701-235-8023 or 877-235-8002 today.
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