When someone is charged with a federal crime, he or she knows that it is serious. Federal drug charges can mean a lifetime behind bars, exorbitant fines and a loss of very important freedoms. For anyone who does not hold U.S. citizenship, these crimes will also likely result in deportation following the completion of a sentence. Federal drug crimes are not something that people in Minneapolis should try to figure out alone, as the consequences for making a mistake are quite severe.
Yet a 46-year-old man is actively fighting against his conviction for cocaine trafficking. He was arrested and charged with drug conspiracy after a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and provided information on him. While many might think that this would be a slam dunk case for prosecutors, it appears that the informant is no longer being used because he has previously lied to his handlers.
The informant, who publicly testified against the 46 year old, was decommissioned in 2010 for lying about a previous investigation, potentially the same one that led to the conviction of the 46 year old. If there was even the possibility that an informant who may have been the primary source of evidence for a conviction had lied to federal officers, the individual convicted should have a new trial contesting the conviction. Individuals should only be convicted on truthful and reliable evidence.
The man who is currently serving a 19-and-a-half-year sentence also filed a Freedom of Information Act for all records on the informant, including the reason why federal agents commissioned and decommissioned him, in addition to his criminal record.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “DEA May Have to Share Records on Ex-Informant,” Ryan Abbott, June 11, 2013