North Dakota

Drug Task Force Encouraged College Student to Go Deeper into Drug Trade, Then He Turned Up Dead

New video shows police dangling "quick cash" as further incentive to avoid 40 years in prison for selling 3.3 grams of pot.


On his 20th birthday, Andrew Sadek sat down with a drug task force agent and

Andrew Sadek, without a lawyer.

 agreed to become a confidential informant to "clear up" the felony charges against him for selling a small amount of marijuana on his college's campus. About seven months later, his body was found in the Red River bordering North Dakota and Minnesota, shot in the head and wearing a backpack filled with rocks

As I reported for Reason TV, the authorities have publicly stated they do not suspect foul play and tried to convince Sadek's parents that their son had committed suicide, even though he had never previously shown depressive tendencies. Law enforcement also refused to consider that threatening a 20 year-old with 40 years in prison over selling 3.3 grams of marijuana may have placed him in a dangerous situation he was unprepared to handle.

In a video released last week via an open records request by Inforum, Sadek, unaccompanied by a lawyer or his parents, had his fateful meeting with Deputy Sheriff Jason Weber of the Southeast Multi-County Agency (SEMCA) drug task force and "voluntarily" agrees to become an informant.

The conversation is always polite, but Weber frequently reminds Sadek that he faces felony charges unless he helps SEMCA nail a few drug dealers. Weber also uses the "carrot and stick" approach, telling Sadek that by helping the police bust drug dealers in one of the safest towns in the state, he also had the opportunity to make "quick, easy cash," with the incentives increasing in conjunction with the increased risk.

Archie Ingersoll at Inforum writes: 

Weber then began probing Sadek for information, asking if he knew people at the college or around town who could sell him marijuana. At one point, the detective specifically asked if there were any football players on campus from which he could buy drugs.

Sadek told Weber he knew of two dealers, but neither played football. One dealer lived in Wahpeton, and the other was in Fargo, he said.

Showing eagerness, Weber asked Sadek if he thought he could arrange to buy pot from the Wahpeton dealer that same day. "I could try," Sadek responded.

Weber told Sadek that once he'd made enough drug buys to remove the possibility of felony charges, he could work as a paid informant and earn "quick, easy cash."

"You go buy some marijuana, it takes you five minutes, you'll get paid 100 bucks to do a deal. If you go buy meth, pills, whatever, you get paid 200 bucks," Weber said.

Not spending 40 years in prison, forever branded a convicted felon… and 200 bucks? What a deal!

How Andrew Sadek wound up shot and in a condition more plausibly ascribed to a murdered and disposed-of body than to a young person's suicide remains a mystery, but this video leaves no question that Weber, representing SEMCA, encouraged Sadek to engage purveyors of "meth, pills, whatever," a more hardened and dangerous class of drug dealer than your average college pot smoker would be accustomed to. Moreover, Weber encouraged Sadek to make new "contacts," essentially telling him to seek out drug dealers he didn't yet know. 

When Sadek expressed concern that the drug dealers he informed on would learn he was a "rat," Weber downplayed the risk:

During the meeting, Weber did not specifically make Sadek aware of the potential dangers involved with being an informant. However, Weber did have Sadek, like other task force informants, sign a contract acknowledging he understood the rules of informant work. One of those rules is that informants may have to testify in court and, in the process, blow their cover.

To ease any concerns Sadek had about this possibility, Weber told him, "I've been doing this a long time. My partners have been doing this a long time. We have never, ever had anybody come back to testify, yet."

Looking for more reassurance, Sadek asked, "They're not going to know that I ratted them out?"

In response, Weber explained that after undercover deals, the task force waits a few months and lets the dealer sell to other people before making an arrest. By that time, the dealer won't know for sure which buyer was wearing a wire, Weber said.

Because Sadek knew of just two drug dealers, Weber told him to start looking for more "contacts," or dealers. "Start working on your contacts. Let's get some of these deals done. That way the faster you get done, the faster …"

When Sadek turned up dead, the very law enforcement agencies who sent him far deeper into the drug trade than he had ever been before declined to vigorously investigate his death. A report issued by the North Dakota Attorney General "did not have any concerns with the case files where Sadek was a CI and conducted controlled buys."

For more background on the case and the trend of colleges and law enforcement colluding to make confidential informants out of non-violent, first-time offending college students, watch the video below:

NEXT: How Bad Does Alleged Pro-Security Legislation Have to Be to Get DHS to Oppose It?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s too bad the kid felt he couldn’t ask his mom/someone for help. I tell my kids: Don’t talk to cops. If they ask you questions, tell them “my dad said not to talk unless he is with me.”

    1. I agree. I tell my sons to keep their mouths shut around authorities and always remember we can afford top-shelf lawyers.

      1. I’ll tell my son to say his last name is “Struthers” in case he needs a lawyer!

      2. My parents always taught me to be polite with the cops but at the same time don’t say more then you need to say. And if they asked me to say more then call them and they would hire a lawyer.

        1. This is good, I just have to make sure my son never says “my dad’s a lawyer.” That’s just asking for trouble.

    2. What if the cop sees his refusal to talk as a threat?
      “A batter can’t wait for a ball to cross home plate before deciding whether that’s something to swing at,” he told the Los Angeles deputy sheriffs. “Make sense? Officers have to make a prediction based on cues.” That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable for cops to shoot first if they perceive a threat – and the guy explains why even imaginary threats or made-up-after-the-fact threats are very real and any excuse at all will do for justifying cops shooting anybody they feel like shooting.

  2. When people ask me why I am a Libertarian, I show them shit like this.

    1. This story isn’t a nut-punch – it’s a ten-ton thermonuclear bomb going off in my lap.

  3. God, that plea is straight out of Three Felonies a Day

    Not spending 40 years in prison, forever branded a convicted felon… and 200 bucks? What a deal!

    You pretty much have to take this deal.

    It’s almost as if they consider us all to be state informants waiting to be blackmailed…

  4. OT: At Cal Poly for a weekend of indoctrination. My son starts school in September and they have a weekend called SOAR (more like PUKE!) where try and scare you about alcohol/drugs, sex, etc.
    My wife knows I think this is complete bullshit so she was amused when the “1 in 5 college women will be raped (or something).” That was Saturday. On Sunday, it magically changed to “1 in 4.” I said to her: My God! It’s summer and school’s out, yet it’s gone from 20% to 25% in a day! That means ever person taking summer school must have been raped on Saturday night!!!!

    1. Look to your left. Now look to your right. Both of these women will accuse you of rape in the next four years.

      Make sure your son understands to only… “Associate” with towny women instead of those on campus as to avoid any “lawsuits”.

      If I ever have a son, “the talk” will primarily consist of case law.

      1. “Look to your left. Now look to your right. Both of these women will accuse you of rape in the next four years.”
        I certainly hope my wife and mother-in-law don’t accuse me of rape!

        Seriously: It’s a good point to mingle with the locals instead.

    2. Whe my Mom went for something at my school some nitwit feminist said that it’s awful to think that children need to be raised by two parents in order to have a decently functioning home. My Mother, a former single parent, corrected the girl and told her that she had no idea what she was talking about. The girl had no idea what to do because my Mom checked two of the most important boxes on her Greivence checklist: She was balck and she was woman.

      1. I’m a “Supporter” not a parent. That’s what they call the people who arrive with the student. I told my wife I prefer “Wallet” or “ATM.”

      2. The Grievance Industry is confused by human beings who insist upon individual identity and agency.

  5. You seriously have to be making this story up…until I saw the dog. Cops fucking hate dogs.

    1. Anything to get home safe! Dogs are dangerous! That’s why cops don’t have dogs!

      1. I hear that kitties are now also considered dangerous threats to cops.

        1. Gerbils are even more dangerous to cops.

          1. Not as dangerous as video.

  6. Weber told him, “I’ve been doing this a long time. My partners have been doing this a long time. We have never, ever had anybody come back to testify, yet.”

    And their record is still unblemished.

    1. Indeed. “Back *from the dead*, that is.”

      1. What I hear you saying is that would make a pretty awesome horror movie.

  7. to avoid 40 years in prison for selling 3.3 grams of pot

    Any delusion you may have of us living in a just and enlightened society should be completely dispelled in that once statement.

    1. No cruel or unusual punishment…

      Folks, the Constitution is clearly an outdated document.

  8. Weber, representing SEMCA, encouraged Sadek to engage purveyors of “meth, pills, whatever,” a more hardened and dangerous class of drug dealer than your average college pot smoker would be accustomed to

    Yeah? Well, look, he would have wound up around these dangerous types eventually anyway, if the cops hadn’t of intervened. The dangerous gateway drug, pot, would have led him there, down the path to harder drugs and of course, other criminal activity.

    I once smoked pot and …. ok, well I don’t do any drugs now, unless you count alcohol. But I’m the only one! No one else has ever escaped the horrors of the devil weed!

    1. *raises hand*

      Stopped when I had to take the drug test 27 years ago for the job – well, not exactly the same job – I have today. But I drink.

      But, I’ve already told Mrs. Almanian, the fucking DAY I retires (“FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!!!”) I start smoking pot again.

      “I think I’m out, and they PULL ME BACK IN!” It is, indeed, teh demunz weeed

  9. Oh, PS, as if you needed any more proof? Drugs R BAD, mmkay?

  10. Someday we’ll have OUR ‘Wall’ on the Mall in DC. A memorial to all the people who died in the senseless War on Drugs. And we’ll find the name Andrew Sadek there.

  11. Sort of slightly on topic: The FDA has approved the first drug made by a 3D printer…..d-printer/

    1. That’s what I’m talking about.

    2. Can you imagine if anybody could print out whatever drug thy wanted? Chaosarchy!

  12. I really hope this issue gets some traction. It really is unconscionable that they do this.

    1. But if it just saves two lives! (One life cancelled out for obvious reasons.)

    2. Paging Dr. Paul, Dr. Paul please respond.

      1. Who’s that? I only know of the Trump cause I spend all my time here.

  13. I found a bag of dead kittens at the bottom of the lake. Our kittens are killing themselves.

  14. Shorter Obama on his energy policy: If you like your air conditioning, you can keep your air conditioning.

    1. The president is cool. You are not as cool as him. Therefore AC is bad. Or something or other.

      /my word salad brings all the boys to the yard.

  15. Pigs are bad, mmmkay?

      1. Fuckin’ awesome. Nailed it.

  16. Why the hell should we give a damn about this? Don’t you know — a beloved lion’s been shot and he even had a name!!!

    1. I have faith that the mob knows what it’s doing. Why do you hate democracy?

  17. I live near wahpeton and used to hang out on campus there when some of my friends were at NDSCS. The thing people either seem to have not noticed or have chose to ignore about this video is that almost the entire football team is made up of black students from out of state. By asking about football players, I believe the cop was looking specifically to target black men.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.