What is a Confidential Informant?
Confidential Informants are persons used by the police in order to secure evidence against another person engaging in criminal activity. Informants are often used in drug cases. An informant usually has been picked up for another crime such as simple possession. In order for their charge to be lessened or dismissed, the informant will either “snitch” or work with the police in a sting. The number of times an informant has to “work” to work off their charges varies. The more serious the informant’s charges, the more times or more people they must bring down by working with the police. In some instances, the police pay the informant for each time they are used to buy drugs etc.
How is a Confidential Informant used?
Once someone has agreed to be an informant, the police select a target. This target can be someone the informant knows, or someone the police are targeting. Before the operation begins, the informant is searched from head to toe for any drugs, narcotics, money etc. The reason the informant is searched is to rule out the possibility of the informant taking the “buy money” or taking the drugs from the transaction.
After being searched, the informant usually has a recording device placed on them. The recording device can vary from microphones to sunglasses. Sometimes, the police may place no recording device on the informant themselves but rather in a purse or outside the place to do the deal completely. There is almost always a police officer nearby with video surveillance. From the time the informant is searched and given the “buy money” the police constantly observes them. If the police do not maintain constant surveillance of the informant, their case can become compromised.
Once the deal has taken place, the police will either act immediately or wait. Police have been known to wait days, weeks, or months before actually taking the subject down. The reason the police wait is to protect the identity of the informant.
What do I do next?
If you think you have been the target of an investigation using a confidential informant, contact a Nashville criminal defense attorney immediately. Keep in mind that police can use the same informant multiple times over a period of time in order to rack up more charges against a person.