Confidential Informants in Drug Cases
It is not uncommon in drug cases for prosecutors to use evidence from a “controlled buy” to support the charges. Although these types of cases can be difficult to defend, there are several ways to fight evidence gathered from a confidential informant. If you need help defending yourself from these cases, our criminal defense firm can help.
What is meant by a “controlled buy?”
A controlled buy is basically a situation setup by law enforcement where a confidential informant is sent in to buy drugs from a suspect. In many cases, the confidential informant is facing some type of criminal charges themselves, so their cooperation is motivated by the possibility of lessening their own charges. Typically, the process requires that the confidential informant be thoroughly searched before going into the controlled buy to ensure they are not already in possession of any drugs.
The informant is given money from the police department, with the serial numbers recorded, to ensure that the money is actually given to the suspect. Law enforcement monitors the controlled buy through audio and/or video surveillance, which is usually recorded.
How credible is the confidential informant?
It is important for law enforcement to protect the credibility of the informant as much as possible. By searching the informant, surveilling the buy, and taking other similar measures, the goal is to eliminate the possibility that the informant could plant the drugs on the suspect in order to fulfill the deal with the police. The fact that the confidential informant is often a convicted felon, their credibility is already at issue. On the other hand, when law enforcement fails to follow proper procedures, then credibility becomes an issue that can be used to defend against these charges.
What type of defense could I have?
From a defense perspective, there are many different strategies that can be used to defend against drug charges based on evidence from a confidential informant. For example, if it can be shown that the confidential informant had the opportunity to obtain drugs and plant them, the evidence obtained in the controlled buy would be useless.
If you have questions regarding drugs charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.