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(It is very lucrative.)

By Gene "Chip" Tatum

Drug traffickers have found a well-paying, part-time job with an excellent benefit plan, especially if the informant is cooperating with the authorities in Louisiana where the state and feds share the loot with the informant. But an informant need not restrict their activities to a particular state. The benefit plan is where the informant really rakes it in. Not only does the drug trafficker feel as if he or she is helping America in its fight against drugs, but he or she also takes on the aura of a government law enforcement officer, mistakenly thinking that he or she can do whatever he/she pleases, because they are protected by the feds.

It is important for us to remember who this informant is: he is a drug trafficker first and foremost, and drug traffickers exist for lots of quick and easy money. He knows or recognizes no bounds, and the world is his for the taking. Drug traffickers/informants actually create a liability for the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies. Although the drugtrafficker/ confidential informant ("DTCI") is responsible for the high conviction rate, recent studies show that many of those convictions are questionable. And the questionable convictions are what is causing the Department of Justice to re-think their DTCI program.

The problem lies in the profound lack of moral turpitude exhibited by the DTCI. The successful DTCI will adapt a dual personality. One personality, the public persona, is contrite and makes a visual effort to enhance his or her position in the community. This persona performs well on the witness stand and is adept at swaying a jury. The second personality, seldom seen in public, is the true personality of the drug trafficker/confidential informant. It is this personality which exhibits the deviant, deep- seated behavior which controls the DTCI's thought processes. And this persona is the very problem that the Department of Justice is experiencing today. It is this persona that holds the misguided thought process which dictates: "Say or do anything you need to in order to accomplish your goals as long as it's in the best interest of self." With this deviant behavior as the basis for their actions, no one is safe from their (DTCI) deceit.

The DTCI sees everyone he or she meets as a source of income. The vacationer, the businessman, or other traffickers (competition). No citizen of the United States is safe from the deviant side of the DTCI. He knows that the government agency will leave him to his own affairs if he supplies a steady stream of information to the government. But this stream is difficult to obtain if the DTCI is not actively involved in his or her trade. So, the trafficking by the DTCI continues. This affords the DTCI to cut his or her competition which, in my book, is great. But if the DTCI is unable to perform with actual trafficking operations, he or she turns desperate and then the "anything goes" behavior is paramount. It is this particular side of the DTCI deviant which weakens the Department of Justice and outwardly threatens thousands of American citizens because if the DTCI can't expose a drug transaction, he will create such an event using unsuspecting American citizens.

The following is an example of this behavior which is creating havoc in thousands of American families:

A drug trafficker, in order to both save his bacon and ensure that his trafficking organization remains safe, will contact the federal government and offer his or her services. If accepted by the government, the drug trafficker then utilizes a portion of his/her trafficking network as an informant network. This is how it works:

A drug trafficker (for this example we will use the name Billy Bob Bottoms) sees the end to his lucrative trafficking business in sight. To save his business he has worked so hard to build, the drug trafficker contacts the U.S. government (for this example, we will use the U.S. Customs). Customs puts the drug trafficker on a contract with the U.S. Attorney to debrief the drug trafficker and train him or her in courtroom procedure: i.e. what to say and what not to say. They further explain the need for a two-tier system of informants. This two-tier system ensures that the U.S. government does not make direct payments to the informant who testifies. This enables the informant, when on the witness stand, to testify to the jury that he has not received any remuneration from the government for his testimony in this particular case. For this example we will use the name Ellis McKinzie, who lives in La Ceiba, Honduras, as the second tier of the DTCI network.

Now that the drug trafficker has been trained and has his network in place the work begins. The drug trafficker contacts his tier-two man and puts him on notice that the network needs a bust to stay clear of the feds. The tier-two man, who will be the informant testifying in the trial, begins looking for a victim.

He finds his victim in a nightclub: an American couple visiting Honduras in search of an investment opportunity. The informant befriends the couple, showing them the ropes and introducing them to various government officials in Honduras, who are actually seeking U.S. investors. The informant gains the couple's trust and tells them of his desire to communicate with them after their return to the States. The unsuspecting couple give the informant their telephone number and address, hoping to hear from their new friend. The informant passes this on to his boss, the drug trafficker in the States, who, in turn, passes the information on to Customs, who, in turn, passes it on to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The informant waits a couple of weeks and then telephones his victims. He speaks in code to them, explaining that he has something special for them and that he would UPS it to them. The victims, not having a clue what it is, accept the offer from the informant and give specific mailing instructions. But the informant convinces the couple to open a special box at someplace like Mail Boxes, Etc. for this privileged package of information. The couple agree, thinking that they are getting some privileged information, perhaps an inside- track on investing in Honduras. The victims set up the new box and contact their friend in Honduras with the address. Little did they know that the conversations were recorded by the U.S. Attorney's office.

The informant then boxes five kilos of cocaine and sends it UPS to the new box number provided by the unsuspecting couple. When they go to retrieve whatever their new friend from Honduras has sent them, they are met by U.S. Customs agents and are arrested for drug trafficking. All of their assets, including their bank accounts, vehicles, and home are seized by the U.S. Attorney's office. The informant from Honduras is deposed by the U.S. Attorney and a copy is given to the couple's attorney. The attorney reads what the informant will testify to and hears the tapes. He advises the couple to plead guilty to the charge and go to prison for five years instead of twenty years, which is what they would receive if they went to trial.

U.S. Customs then sells the assets and gives a portion to the drug trafficker, the DTCI, and also pays a large fee to him or her. The drug trafficker, in turn, pays his man in Honduras. This keeps the feds off their back long enough for their own shipment of drugs to be smuggled in and disbursed.

To summarize this example, Billy Bob Bottoms, a drug trafficker, tells Ellis McKenzie, Bottoms' drug trafficking partner, that they need a bust to appease the feds. McKenzie sets up an innocent traveler. The bust is made by U.S. Customs office. They pay Bottoms for his help. Bottoms pays McKenzie in case McKenzie has to testify and he can honestly say that he received no money from the government for his testimony. U.S. Customs is elated over the bust. Now Bottoms has breathing room to smuggle in more dope, which makes his cartel friends happy. Everyone wins! Except the victim.

So, as seen by the example provided, drug busts are on the rise. But there are more drugs than ever flowing into the United States. As you can see, our system is not working. Not only is the Department of Justice allowing more drugs than ever to flow into our country, but it is putting innocent Americans behind bars in an attempt to report impressive statistics to the American people.

And what of these innocents in prison? Their lives are ruined. But many are hoping for justice from our appeals court which ties up the justice system even more.

So, if you're a drug trafficker looking for an alternative, you can call your local U.S. Attorney office and tell them that you have just completed your course on "Government Informants - 101." They will be more than happy to begin your debriefing
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