In the State of Florida, a large number of
cases are made with the assistance of confidential informants, or CIs.
These informants provide information to law enforcement about drug sales
Police use informants because frankly, the informants can go places that
undercover police officers cannot. Informants are usually working on "contracts,"
or working on behalf of the police in an effort to work off their own
criminal charges. The contract work may actually be a condition of the
informant's own probation.
Most of the time, the informant has agreed to work for the police in an
effort to get their own sentence reduced.
The CI can have a variety of roles in the trafficking arrest process. They
may simply provide information, which the police use to obtain a
. The CI may be a vital part of the operation by actually setting up the
alleged drug transaction.
A CI may set up a "controlled buy" where the CI, or some other
law enforcement officer, poses as a drug buyer. During the preliminary
process, the CI may assist law enforcement in setting up "controlled
calls" whereby plans of the pending drug deal are discussed over
the phone. The CI may be talking on the other end, pretending to be setting
up the terms of a sale. Meanwhile, law enforcement is recording the entire
conversation. This tape will be admissible as evidence against the suspected
Trafficking arrests are what the police really want, but CIs can be used
to set up the arrests of people suspected of possession with intent to
sell. CIs can be used to arrest people for trafficking and sale of marijuana
(grow houses), cocaine, ecstasy, oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin),
alprazolam (Xanax), and heroin - just to name a few.
So, the question remains - is this informant's identification really
Miami-Dade County criminal defense attorney make the State of Florida reveal the identity of this CI?
If the CI's role in the arrest is so vital that it violates the constitutional
rights of the accused not to disclose the identity, the defense attorney
may be able to compel production of the CI's identity.
This presents a problem for the State (and one that benefits the accused).
The State has an interest in preserving the secrecy of the CI's identity.
This is because CIs are important to law enforcement officers, and they
want to continue to use them time and time again.
If a CI's identity is revealed, then the CI can no longer be a CI as
the whole world will know that they are working for the police.
So if the judge orders the State to produce the identity of the CI, the
State may be very willing to resolve the case so that this disclosure
does not occur. This may mean waiving a mandatory minimum sentence. This
may mean offering
when the State initially wanted prison time.
The Miami-Dade Police Department, the Broward Sheriff's Office, and
the Fort Lauderdale Police Department all use CIs extensively during the
course of their trafficking investigations. I deal with CIs all of the
time in many of my trafficking matters.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a narcotics-related offense
and their was a CI involved in the arrest,
. You have many legal options available that may help you to fight these charges.