Confidential Informants and a Lack of Accountability

If you work as an informant, law enforcement is unlikely to have your back.


A small business owner in Texas has been fighting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for more than four years after one of the agency's confidential informants was murdered while driving one of his tractor trailers. 

As reported in the Houston Chronicle:

Craig Patty, the truck's owner, is still fighting for his day in court. He contends the DEA had no right or permission to use his vehicle or subject his family to possible retaliation by a drug cartel.

He has not been able to get the DEA to pay for the damages to the truck, let alone apologize.

He says the loss of the truck for months crippled his small business; and that the stress of fearing a cartel would retaliate against him and his family for something they knew nothing about shattered their lives.

Earlier this year, I reported on the case of Andrew Sadek, a college student who became a confidential informant for a North Dakota drug task force after being threatened with 40 years in prison over selling two small bags of marijuana on his school's campus.

When he turned up dead with a bullet in his head, the same agencies who busted him and encouraged him to snitch on purveyors of harder drugs than he had ever previously encountered refused to even investigate the case as a potential murder. 

Original text below. You can read the full article here

On June 27, 2014, the body of 20-year-old Andrew Sadek, a promising electrical student at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) in Wahpeton, North Dakota, was pulled from the Red River bordering North Dakota and Minnesota.

Missing for two months, the young man was found shot in the head, wearing a backpack filled with rocks. 

The grisly death of a college student in one of the safest towns in the state, where violent crime is extremely rare, did not lead to a sweeping investigation. In fact, police immediately said they did not suspect foul play.

Such a supposition strains credulity as it is, but what would be slowly revealed over the following months is that Andrew had been working as a confidential informant for the police, and that his school knew that authorities were busting its students and using them as bait to catch drug dealers

This is a story of overzealous prosecution of minor drug offenses by a task force answerable only to itself, callous official indifference toward a grieving family, and a lack of transparency by authorities that raises more questions than it answers. 

Paramount among these questions: Why are police using non-violent, first-time offenders in the very dangerous role of confidential informant?  

About 9.45 minutes. 

Written and Produced by Anthony L. Fisher.

Camera by Alex Manning. Special Thanks to Jim Wareham, Ike Walker, Nicole Johnson and Bradford Arick of Valley News Live.

MUSIC: "I Was a Boy" and "Dishonest" by Wooden Ambulance (; "Old" by Smokey Hormel (