Drug War

Undercover Informant Plants Crack Cocaine in Smoke Shop, Business Owner Saved by Tape

In Scotia, New York


not quite sprinkling the crack

Who exactly is the victim when crack cocaine is found on someone's person or property? Maybe the owner of that property? In Scotia, New York, local and county police decided they were suspicious of Donald Andrew's smoke shop, one of many in Schenectady County but, according to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing, apparently the only one owned by a black person. They sent an informant, someone facing jail time of their own, to, er, "investigate." Here's what happened, via the local NBC affiliate, WNYT:

The second time, [Donald] Andrews's attorney Kevin Luibrand does play by play that appears to show the informant planting, then photographing crack cocaine that led to Andrews arrest.

"He comes in," Luibrand narrated over video shot on in-store surveillance cameras. "Places the crack on the counter. Crack, which under federal sentencing guidelines, would get him 4 years in jail. Under New York State law would get him 2 to 7 years in jail."

There are seven cameras in plain view in Andrews small store. 

Andrews was arrested until he was able to show police the surveillance video exonerating him. WNYT reports the county sheriff admitted procedures were not followed and blamed the informant, who has apparently gone missing. Andrews is preparing to sue for his wrongful arrest.

You can watch the surveillance video in this WNYT news segment:

h/t Kevin S

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  1. “*appears* to show the informant planting, then photographing crack cocaine that led to Andrews arrest.” [emphasis added]

    And water *appears* to be wet. And fire *appears* to burn.

    “WNYT reports the county sheriff admitted procedures were not followed and blamed the informant, who has apparently gone missing.”

    Nice way to play the victim when it was the cops themselves who decided to place their reliance on this informant. They can’t walk away from their responsibility. This isn’t some random guy framing the victim and tricking the cops into believing it – this is someone selected by the cops to go after the victim.

    1. Does anyone know if in New York, like some states, the informant gets a cut of property seized?

      I would not be surprised to learn that the cops have more culpability here than just choosing the wrong informant.

      1. Does anyone know if in New York, like some states, the informant gets a cut of property seized?

        Wait, fucking what?

        I thought they got CIs by busting little fish and offering them immunity to get bigger fish, you’re telling me they actual pay these fuckers out of the loot they steal?

        Jesus titty-fucking Christ.

        1. Yeah a lot of states allow 10-20% of any money in a set-up drug sell to go directly to the CI.

    2. Wait… procedures were NOT followed? Is that the first time the police have ever admitted this?

  2. Proofreading is your friend, Ed.

    Also, [insert anti-police bigorati rant]

    1. I don’t see it!

      1. apparently the only *own* owned by a black person

      2. Shope?

        Everyone knows it’s “Shoppe”.

  3. She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her check was $12599

    I had no idea surrogate motherhood was so lucrative.

    1. That’s on the low end for surrogacy

  4. The old sprinkle crack everywhere ruse, eh? Dave Chapelle must be proud right now.

  5. the only own owned

    1. Also, smoke shope.

      1. Also, smoke shope.

        He’s just trying to old timey with his writing. Haven’t any of you ever been to Ye Olde Smoke Shope?

        1. Also, you’d better watch out, Ed. Mistakes like this might result in them sending you to the same farm where they sent Lucy.

          1. Wie hid ex-reason-editors im unsere attic!

            1. “Wir”, not “Wie”.

      2. The proprietor must be English. “Ye Olde Smoke Shoppe”?

  6. smoke shope

    I’m here to help.

    1. No you’re not, you’re here to pounce on the slightest hint of weakness – just like the rest of us.

  7. I wonder how many other people have been found guilty of some crime just because a professional criminal sent there by the policy planted some evidence.

    1. Jesus says shut up and submit to Godly Authority, in the form of govt officials in snappy uniforms, as opposed to govt officials in business suits, unless they also carry badges.

    2. Not as many as you might think. Often, after property is seized no charges are filed., no court and the cops don’t have to get caught framing people and stealing.

  8. Places the crack on the counter.

    Doesn’t everybody keep their crack in plain view on the counter of their open-to-the-public business establishment?

    1. You would think that the informant would put a little sign next to it, “Crack $20”.

      1. Back when I was collecting rent for a slumlord the market crier would announce “red top five, blue top ten.”

  9. No you’re not, you’re here to pounce on the slightest hint of weakness – just like the rest of us.

    Help, ridicule, same thing.

    That’s what my older brother taught me.

  10. One of the few times I’m going to say thank Gaia for a racial component.

  11. Ed, did you get out and see Fruitvale Station last night, and if so how was it?

    1. Just saw it today, highly recommend. If someone came out of that movie thinking it was about white privilege they missed the point

  12. These cops are gonna be in big trouble. Why, they might even face an administrative review for participating in a felony conspiracy like this officer did, and get sent to another precinct where they are able to harass and frame people until the video evidence catches them.

    Of course, even when it does, they spend less time behind bars than Lindsay Lohan did, but she’s not a hero with a perverted justice system available only to her like they are.

    1. Lindsay Lohan is MY hero!

    2. Not to say nothing, the coward lost his job and was sentenced to six months. It’s a start, no?

      1. Well yes, he got sentenced to 6 months in jail for trying to frame someone. But my point was that if he didn’t have a separate set of justice, he would have been criminally prosecuted the first time he broke into someone’s house to commit an illegal search. The fact that he was allowed to go through an “administrative justice” process in lieu of the court system WHEN HE WAS CAUGHT BREAKING INTO SOMEONE’S HOME TO COMMIT A SEARCH FOR WHICH HE HAD NO WARRANT, gave him the opportunity to commit his second crime.

        Eliminate separate justice systems for police officers and eliminate internal affairs departments and replace them with anonymous civilian oversight boards with subpoena power and the ability to convene a grand jury, and you will begin to see some of this abhorrent behavior reined in.

  13. how was it?

    According to the WaPo (linked in Hemp thread by someone other than myself) it has much to teach us about teh White Privlidgezz.

    1. White Privlidgezz.

      They misspelled “double standard”.

    2. That sounds horrible.

      1. I wonder how many cops will go see it, just so they can stand up and cheer when Mahserle puts that bullet in Oscar Grant’s back?

        Or will their erections become so great that they collectively pass out from the depleted blood supply to the brain?

        1. Cops have brains?

          That’s a new one to me.

        2. Now that I’ve actually googled it, it does sound like something dunphy would jerk off to.

        3. BFS. Boner Fainting Syndrome.

    3. It was my comment. Moved here:

      How about some weekend race baiting for you racist dopers. You fucking cosmotarian, redneck, rethuglican, beaner lovin’, racist, dope fiends make me sick.

      From the “article”:

      For years, when speaking to journalism students, I’ve explained that I got my start in the business by snagging an entry-level magazine job just out of college. What I’ve conveniently left out is that I learned about the job ? and obtained an interview ? thanks to someone I met through old friends of my family.

      See, no black people have friends in high places to help get their kid a job because all black people are poor and uneducated, the poor things. Also, every white person is upper-middle class with a network of other upper-middle class people that get their kids jobs. These are the facts.

  14. FYI: Mr. Peanut has dropped out of the Reason Hit & Run J sub D Memorial Fantasy Football League. We now have one spot opened up. If anyone is interested, they need to reply to me IN THREADED FORM and I’ll get them an invite.

    1. is this league anything like “The League”? ‘Cause if not, I think J sub D would be mighty disappointed.

    2. Still available?

      1. Looks like it’s gone. I’ll have another opening soon.

        1. If there happens to be another opening, I’m looking for a new league. I’d love to play. If not, I still love ya.

          1. You are free to enter the B League. I just sent you an invite.

            For the rest of you, you can enter it here.

            1. You going to reneg on bets in the B League, too??

  15. Dope informants and dope cops are just about the worst scum on this fucking planet. They’re the type of people graveyards were made for.

    Of course, this means they are allowed to conduct their villainy openly and with impunity.

    1. Pretty much any vice cop is a piece of shit. The ones who have sex with hookers and then turn around and arrest them should be castrated.

      1. Or run for governor. Either one.

    2. They’re heroes, dammit!

  16. Has anybody asked how many other people have been arrested or (God forbid) convicted based on testimony or “evidence” given by this informant?

    I think every case this informant has been involved in should be reopened.

    1. Every case where any informant was relied on for key evidence should be thrown out and the city and county should have to pay restitution for legal fees and any false imprisonment imposed on there victims.

      1. Oh, and incidentally, isn’t falsifying evidence a crime?

        Lying to a police officer in the course of an investigation?

        If the informant isn’t being charged with a crime, why?

        1. He’s “gone missing.”

          1. How convenient.

            Still, they could indict him.

            They’ve got video of him committing the crime. It shouldn’t be any problem getting an indictment.

            1. Oh absolutely, but it will take a hot minute to convene a grand jury

          2. Isn’t ‘gone missing’ Sopranos speak?

    2. Why do you think the informant disappeared?

  17. Who ever relied on evidence obtained by an informant (criminal or otherwise) to arrest the store owner should be fired and barred from any future employment in law enforcement.

  18. I don’t even care if it’s only slightly on topic. I’m gonna post this right here.

          1. Sorry, still amused at the album cover showing 13 dudes in N.W.A. (and the Posse).

  19. Union propaganda from the AP.

    Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing is a major setback for public employee unions that have spent years trying to ward off cuts to the pensions of millions of government workers around the country.

    If the city’s gambit succeeds, it could jeopardize an important bargaining tool for unions, which often have deferred higher wages in favor of more generous pensions and health benefits.

    Yeah, those poor cops and firemen are just barely scraping by on a few grand a year. Driving old beaters because they can’t afford a new car, and living in rundown apartment buildings in the poor part of town. And all those teachers with their summer jobs just to make ends meet.

    1. Where has the AP been? “…which often have deferred higher wages in favor of more generous pensions and health benefits…” was true maybe 30+ years ago, but not recently. Teachers and other public sector employees are very well paid indeed compared to comparable jobs in the private sector.

  20. As a kid, I used to watch The Dukes of Hazard, and this “investigatory technique” reminds me of how the corrupt sheriff would always try to plant moonshine in the General Lee’s trunk. Even to a young kid, it was a pathetic sign of desperation.

    1. You watched the Dukes of Hazard? Racist!

      1. Does it help that, a few years later, I would watch Spenser for Hire? Spenser’s best friend was a tough black guy named Hawk. I too wanted a super-cool friend like that — sort of an updated version of Shaft.

  21. In a world with with legalized drugs, that would have been a video of a kind gentleman appreciatively tipping with a little crack.

    Like this:

    Guy at Counter: Hey, man. Thanks for the free cannabis samples.

    Store Owner: No problem!

    Guy at Counter: I’d like to show my appreciation with a little of this crack. (places on counter)

    Store Owner: Thanks!


  22. From the WaPo review of Fruitville Station:
    That brief but eloquent scene deftly illustrates the subtleties of white privilege ? a reality too seldom portrayed in film and too often ignored by its beneficiaries in life.

    Of course it does.

    1. Black people are far more likely to go see movies with majority-white casts than vice versa. And whereas movies about African Americans have tended to be confined to comedies and urban dramas, the white experience has long been represented across a diverse range of genres, stories and characters.

      In other news, America is only 12.5% black.

      1. Hey, I saw Roots! And In Living Color, especially that nice young man, Jim Carrey – isn’t he black?

    2. It seems like only rich elitist are offended by so called white privalge which they seem to be the only beneficiaries of. Seems like an easy solution would be for them to give all of their wealth away to poor black people.

  23. I can imagine the deal between the informant and cops. “Just go in and sprinkle a little crack in the smoke shop. Don’t worry, the owner will plead down to a fine. Now, I can’t promise you that you won’t have to spend some time in jail for your pending case, but we will ensure the judge knows about your cooperation.”

  24. Conversationalists

    More than 200 people attended the day-long forum. They discussed the proliferation of guns and the impact on youth ? issues that go beyond Chicago. Fiery community leaders echoed oft-repeated problems and solutions.

    Many spoke of the need for better education, parenting, mentoring and community reinvestment, but none offered new or specific solutions during the eight-plus hours of the forum. Many just needed the time to vent. And anything elected officials come up with would face a contentious Congress that is cutting government programs.

    Look everybody, we’re having a serious conversation about violence!

    1. This made me laugh:

      “Maybe just some of you are tired of having your leaders hold summits that are long on talk and short on action,” she told attendees. “Today’s summit aims to be different.”

      Yeah, THIS summit ain’t gonna be nothing like all those other summits! We figured out the Chicago problem once and for all: we were just holding slightly different kinds of summits! These new summits are the ticket!

      1. I’m surprised nobody cited this:


      2. “Todays summit aims to be different.”

        They really mean it this time?

  25. If they emerged from their summit and announced they were rounding up all males between the ages of thirteen and thirty and putting them in forced labor camps, we’d know they were serious.

    1. Well, don’t forget it was an “emergency” summit, Brooksie. Those are the most serious of all the many and varied types of summits, as we all know. Complete with “fiery community leaders,” no less. Look out, world.

      1. Well unless they announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee, it’s all just talk isn’t it.

  26. Andrews was arrested until he was able to show police the surveillance video exonerating him. WNYT reports the county sheriff admitted procedures were not followed and blamed the informant, who has apparently gone missing.

    Don’t know where he went, but I bet it’s cold, dark and several feet under.

  27. The PUNK cops behind this should be beaten!


    1. Question: I know that registration was introduced in order to combat Indio Blanco’s spamming, but how are the Anon-Bots getting through on a regular basis? Shouldn’t that have been cleared up?

      1. Come on man, jsut roll with it!


        1. I’d upvote all 3 of these comments if I could. ^^^

  28. Wow, we have a blatant case of police misconduct and corruption, and the first thing these people think of again is “racial profiling”, without any evidence whatsoever.

    If this is viewed as racial profiling, what will happen is that laws and regulations will get passed making it harder to arrest African Americans but not getting at the underlying causes, which have nothing to do with race.

  29. Cocaine left the hand of the undercover informant and landed on the counter.

    1. Mistakes were made.

  30. Hopefully he gets a great attorney this is a easy slam dunk case – I wouldn’t even settle I would take this to trial

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