For quite some time now drug agents with various state and local agencies have operated on a “bigger fish” mentality. They want to arrest up the food chain, they say. (Truthfully, I disbelieve cops want to go any higher than mid-level dealers, as I never see the big traffickers taken down. Why? They shoot back. Cops want the everyday user and the mid-level dealers in their clutches as users and mid-level dealers don’t represent a threat to police and their family the way a big trafficker would.)
The cops raid your house (usually because one of your friends is an informant) or stop your vehicle and find drugs and they “detain” you. They tell you “it’s not an arrest,” but it is. (The law says if you’re not free to leave you’ve been busted. It’s that simple.)
They use the old carrot and stick routine.
The cops have you in cuffs, usually in the back of their squad car. They begin the psychological pressure. They tell you you’re going to do 20 years or more in prison. They’re going to “make sure that you get maximum prison time.” They tell you you’re never going to see the light of day.
That’s the stick part.
Now, here comes the carrot.
They suddenly soften their tone, and tell you that if you’ll become a snitch, an informant, if you “give us some good busts, all of this will go away. We’ll never arrest you. We’ll never press charges against you.”
You are terrified of going to jail, so they have you at a psychological disadvantage. You think, why not? If I give them some names, help them makes some busts, I’m off the hook! Right?
They sweeten the pot. They tell you they’ll turn you loose right now without arresting you if you promise to work with them. You see a way out. You agree to work as an informant. The drug cops turn you loose! You’re free, but are you?
The truth is, you’ve just postponed your arrest, not stopped it. In fact, you’re about to make your situation worse.
Because the cops working drug interdiction today no longer live up to their word.
They get you roped in as an informant. You give them good intel, you help arrange buys. You stick your neck out. You risk your life – and believe me if word leaks that you’re an informant you can very likely end up a target of drug pushers who will think nothing of silencing you.
The cops then say to you, “It’s not enough. You have to give us more. We need more names. We need more buys.” You’ve given them all you have. You’ve told them all you know. They’ve written down everything you’ve said and done for them in a file.
You begin to rethink your cooperation. Suddenly you’re way out on a limb and the cops are now making it clear they’re not happy with you. You panic. You stop working for them. They call and threaten you, give you ultimatums. Then silence. You hear nothing from the cops for weeks.
Then you get pulled over. There is a warrant for your arrest for the drugs the cops nailed you with originally weeks or months back.
You realize right then you’ve been conned, lied to, tricked.
The cops take you to jail. You make bond. You hire a lawyer, or obtain a court-appointed lawyer. The prosecutor comes to the table with a file 20 pages thick of everything you’ve said or done as an informant, not to lessen the charge against you – but to prove you’re an even worse druggie that the original charge shows. In short, your cooperation will be used to enhance your prison sentence!
That’s right. After all you did to help the cops and get your butt out of trouble the cops are now using your cooperation as evidence against you!
How can this happen?
It happens because cops are allowed by law to lie to you. The courts have said so. It’s legal for cops to lie to gain advantage in the “war on crime.”
You fell right into their trap, made yourself look far worse and far more culpable than you are, and they pulled the rug out from under you – laughing at you the entire time.
Not only were they never going to drop the charge against you, they’re going to seek greater punishment using your cooperation as proof of your status as a big-time dope dealer.
So, why are they doing this?
Cops today have no integrity. They’re all about scoring busts and so they can thump their chests and claim brownie points for being a tough cop. Respect for the law among cops is at an all-time low.
I recently had an assistant district attorney testifying in a case in which we were trying to set aside what I believed was a wrongful conviction of a client on a drug charge. The client had been represented by another lawyer after his arrest. For an entire year he had worked as an informant for the drug task force until he had exhausted his ability to work with the agents. When he told them he could no longer provide any information, indeed word had spread he was informing, the drug agents had him arrested and he was sent to trial. Amazingly, all of the information he had voluntarily provided to the drug agents was now used against him to enhance his sentence.
When his former lawyer called the drug agents to find out why they broke their promise, they laughed at him. “He didn’t do enough,” they said.
This assistant district attorney was on the stand testifying and he let slip an important truth: It mattered not to prosecutors how much an informant cooperated – if the drug agents didn’t tell the prosecutors to drop the charges there would be no deal. In short, the cops can lie to people to gain their cooperation and then turn on the poor informant and the prosecutors don’t care.
“If the cops say they didn’t get what they want, I don’t care how much they cooperate,” this assistant district attorney said.
So, here’s something to consider:
If you are caught with drugs, be smart. Stop talking. Don’t claim the drugs. Don’t say anything other than “I want a lawyer.” You have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you – including anything you say thinking you’re going to cooperate and get out of the situation without an arrest.
Remember, demand a lawyer. The Supreme Court of the United States said recently that mere silence can be used against you. You have to demand a lawyer, too. So, demand a lawyer.
Then shut up. Say nothing. Nothing you say is going to prevent you from being arrested and everything you say is going to be used against you.
Once the cops have taken you to jail, make bond using a bondsman. Why? Cash bonds and property bonds aren’t always consolidated bonds that will carry you through the process. A bondsman will obtain a consolidated bond so you stay out while the trial is pending.
Then, call a lawyer. Do some research. Pick a lawyer with a track record of winning criminal cases. Hire that lawyer to win your case.
(Required by Alabama law: No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than other lawyers.)