Recruiting Your Child as a Narc

by Diane Dimond on August 1, 2016

A Hidden Danger for College Bound Students

A Hidden Danger for College Bound Students

This is the time of year parents start worrying about back-to-school stuff. For those with college aged kids who will soon go off to live by themselves an extra bit of preparation to think about.

You may not realize it but police departments across the country, especially those near colleges and universities, often “flip” students caught with even a tiny amount of marijuana and recruit them into the ranks of “confidential informant.”

At some universities there is a wide circle of these student-tipsters who have all been made to promise to turn in other campus drug users in exchange for leniency in their own narcotics case.

Here’s how it works. Narcotics officers, working on information from one of these CI’s approaches a particular student, asks to search their room and when they find the expected evidence of drug use they haul the student to the station house.

Inside Interrogation Rooms Students Are Convinced to Cooperate

Inside Interrogation Rooms Skilled Officers Convince Students to Cooperate

He or she fails to notice that the officer hasn’t actually placed them under arrest. If they had been, the student would be told about his or her rights to an attorney and to remain silent. The scared kid doesn’t realize that the threat of a decades long prison term is just a tactic to get them to talk.

Sitting in a bleak interrogation room, being questioned by a stern looking officer and worrying about what mom or dad will say if they find out, these first-timers are desperate to grasp at any solution to their dilemma.

Then the answer is presented: Wear a wire and turn in other students willing to sell you drugs. While on the hot seat the student is told they may not tell anyone that they are part of the CI squad. They are often made to sign a document promising to turn in as many as ten other students.

One Small Drug Deal Can Force CI's To Instigate Many Others

One Small Drug Deal Can Force CI’s To Initiate Many Others – While Wired

Now for the other side. Police working these details will tell you this is a bona fide tool in the on-going War on Drugs. Who better, they say, to make a monitored buy from a drug dealing student than another student? When asked if all this drama isn’t a bit of overkill for a small amount of marijuana, the officer will likely answer that the law is the law. Marijuana is legal in only four states and the District of Columbia and it is likely not legal on your child’s campus.

But here’s the rub. Sometimes, while departments are increasing their drug bust rates and qualifying for more federal funds, these kids die on the job.

Rachel Hoffman Died During an Undercover CI Operation

Rachel Hoffman Died During an Undercover CI Operation

It happened in 2008, to a Florida State graduate named Rachel Hoffman. She had been caught with drugs — twice. The last time Rachel had 5 ounces of pot and ecstasy and Valium pills. She agreed to CI recruitment to avoid prison time.

Rachel agreed to wear a wire, carry $13,000 in cash, 1,500 ecstasy pills, some crack cocaine and a gun to a meeting with two known drug dealers. The location was a public park and some 20 officers, including one in a DEA plane overhead, were on hand to protect her. When the location was changed at the last minute officers lost contact with Rachel. Her body was found in a ditch 48 hours later.

Police Say Andrew Sadek Committed Suicide - His Parents Think Drug Dealers Shot Him

Police Say Sadek Committed Suicide – His Parents Think Drug Dealers Murdered Him

In November 2013, a North Dakota State College of Science scholar named Andrew Sadek was confronted by members of a local police task force with evidence that he had earlier made two small pot sales – $20 and $60 worth – to an undercover student. Andrew had never been in trouble before but once in the interrogation room, threatened with, “40 years in prison and a $40,000 fine,” Sadek agreed to flip.

The interrogation video shows he was encouraged to find dealers who offered heavier drugs than marijuana. Six months later the 20-year-old’s body was found in the Red River bound to his rock-filled backpack, a gunshot wound in his head.

While those are extreme cases these campus recruitments have been widespread, at the University of Alabama, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and others.

Reports That Local Cops Had 30 CI's in The Area

Report: Local Cops Had 30 CI’s in the Area

Last year it was reported that the narcotics squad near the University of Mississippi recruited about 30 CI’s, most of them students. One, named Greg, told 60 Minutes he was forced to inform after a friend left a package in their room for a second friend to pick up. Student #2 captured Greg’s voice on a recording. The package contained LSD.

To the families of college kids setting out to start their own lives, do them a favor. Cut out this column and send it with them.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Facebook Friend and Retired Sheriff Deputy Nancy Robel writes:

“Should never happen. Sounds like we need new laws on the books to protect this type of justice compromise. I’m surprised about these agencies- so much liability involved. We do use minors to try and buy alcohol from businesses but I would say that’s the extent. I could be totally wrong, too.”

Reply

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Facebook Friend “Natalie Fido-Kennedy writes:

“That makez me sad and mad all at the same time .”

Reply

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Preciliano Martín writes:

“The dilemma, as I see it, is that illegal drug use now exceeds 50% of the population. The majority of Americans are using one illegal drug or another on a somewhat consistent basis. These folks want back into what they see as the mainstream of society. We will never see the end of efforts to legalize one drug then another for whatever reason. Illegal drug users fail to see their connections to the killings happening because of the use both here in this country and other places. Every time someone lights up a joint or do any other illegal drug they become part of the problem. Folks have to understand that.”

Reply

Nancy Herrmann-Hart August 24, 2016 at 1:53 am

UGH!! There is sooo much going on OVERTLY, in plain site. Really…Entrapment. On Marijuana. Sooo sick of the ignorance. Everything is plant based. When I smoked, it wasnt a gateway drug. Eventually pot smokers get sick and tired or being tired and paranoid. Most leave it behind in High school or college.
We now have medicinal purposes for those parents its HOPE to have access to Rosemary’s OIL.
Like everything else, Laws change when things get close to home in Congress. Takes someone affected by something to start the bill writing process. Where are our voices in Congress. In an election year, people need to focus on the Congressperson they put in office more than the President. Well…hang on, Trump does have to go!!
Let me go toke up and re-think all that…..However, alcohol does kill every living cell in your body. Forget the laws, ck your health habits.

Reply

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Tom O’Connell writes:

“Thanks for writing this important editorial. The drug war has corrupted the core aim of law enforcement and it continues to victimize all of us.”

Reply

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Kerry Lives writes:

“Young adults are badgered and coerced (without legal advice) to be snitches, and some are protected by their handlers, but others are thrown before the bus. Some are gang members, some scared and naive students.They are disposable tools for crooked cops to use for stealing booty. Don’t argue because there has been too much research done on this. Maybe read a law professor’s (Alexandra Natapoff) book and blog on snitching to learn about this shadow system. The “War for Drugs” has been disastrous to our society and youth, but profitable to gangsters and some police.
(My son was murdered by snitch puppets for APD)”

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Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Preciliano Martín writes:

“Illegal drugs have many drawbacks, this is one of them. The morality of who is doing what to whom in this instance means nothing. They put themselvs at risk.”

Reply

Diane Dimond August 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Tom O’Connell replies:

“Are you saying the drug war is a good thing? It’s been waged for more than 40 years, and in that time, drug use and availability and violence have all steadily increased. Why can’t we try something different? If we continue to legislate “morality,” we will continue to lose this war. It’s better—and lots, lots cheaper—to treat drugs as a healthcare issue rather than a criminal justice issue. We need more Americans to understand that. We need you to allow us to try something different. It’s time. You need to either help us change or get out of the way.”
Tom O’Connell replies:

“Are you saying the drug war is a good thing? It’s been waged for more than 40 years, and in that time, drug use and availability and violence have all steadily increased. Why can’t we try something different? If we continue to legislate “morality,” we will continue to lose this war. It’s better—and lots, lots cheaper—to treat drugs as a healthcare issue rather than a criminal justice issue. We need more Americans to understand that. We need you to allow us to try something different. It’s time. You need to either help us change or get out of the way.”

Reply

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