Massachusetts is tough on drug crime, and law enforcement will do anything to catch someone in the act of selling drugs. In some cases, law enforcement will have confidential informants leak valuable information about an alleged local drug dealer — instead of undercover police officers and setting up a so-called “sting” operation. This most often occurs when the person is suspected of selling drugs out of their house.
In cases where law enforcement uses a confidential informant, they may provide the informant with marked dollar bills and ask them to buy drugs. The law enforcement officer may set up their car across the street to observe. As the confidential informant enters the house and begins the process of purchasing drugs, the confidential informant then brings the law enforcement officers the drug they purchased out of the home. The police will then collect their observations, request a search warrant by completing an affidavit, and will then search the alleged drug dealers’ home.
Typically, police officers will give the confidential informant marked bills and wait in a car and watch as the confidential informant approaches the defendant’s home and engages in a transaction. The confidential informant will then return to the officers, bringing them whatever the defendant allegedly sold to them. However, often, the transactions occur inside the home, beyond the sight of the police officers. Based on their observations, police officers will then complete an affidavit for a search warrant, and search the home.
Read on to learn how your rights are changing when it comes to the use of confidential informants in a drug case, and schedule a constultation with Toland Law to create a strong case for your defense.
How Have The Laws Surrounding Confidential Informants Changed In Boston?
In 2020, a Massachusetts state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Boston criminal case involving the defendant who was suspected of selling drugs. The case is called Commonwealth vs. Xavier Rodriguez. Using confidential informants is problematic for a lot of reasons– first and foremost, most confidential informants are drug users themselves, who may not be in the correct state of mind to be collecting important evidence regarding your alleged criminal charges. Secondly, it is also concerning that confidential informants are sometimes compensated to be involved in this type of sting operation, which can be considered a bias. Additionally, since informants are confidential, they can not be used as part of the criminal trial, and the defendant therefore loses the opportunity to question them and the evidence they provide to the case.
In this 2020 criminal court case, an alleged drug dealer was arrested after making sales of heroin to a confidential informant that was assigned to his case. Law enforcement officials were able to easily get a search warrant into the alleged drug dealer’s home due to the transaction between him and the informant. On the case’s search warrant affidavit, the law enforcement officers failed to state on what date the alleged drug deals went down, but the search warrant was still approved. After the warrant was provided to police, they found suboxone and fentanyl in the defendant’s home, and did not find the aforementioned heroin.
In a pretrial motion, the alleged drug dealer tries to get more information about the confidential informant that was used to support the police’s case. He tried to get more information regarding how much money the informant was paid to participate, and what happened to the heroin that was allegedly sold to him. Since the alleged drug dealer made it clear that he did not want to know the identity of the confidential informant, and that he just wanted to get other information, he was granted this information, where it was revealed that there were errors in the police’s original search affidavit.
As a result of this court case, the prosecution is now required to give the defendant any information he requests regarding the use of a confidential informant – which can be crucial to the outcome of your case.
What Does This Ruling Mean For My Drug Crime Charge?
Without the help of a focused, hard working attorney, you may miss out on unique areas of opportunity that can help your case. Without a lawyer by your side, it can be hard to understand the full scope of the law and how it applies to your case.
Everyone has rights, even after they are accused of a crime. Schedule a criminal case evaluation with Toland Law to make sure your rights are upheld if you have been arrested for a drug crime of anty kind in Boston.