Wearing a hidden microphone, a 19-year-old police informant thought she was going to drive a man to a home so he could steal the $20,000 in cash he said was there. She didn’t know she was the real target, reports the Indianapolis Star. The man told the informant he had to return to his home to get a gun first. As he drove in, he closed the garage door behind them. Bags of cement, tools and a body bag were inside the car. Police quickly burst into the home, where they found the informant unconscious, with a rope around her neck. She survived and the assailant was arrested.
The case offered a rare glimpse into the life of police informants, and the work performed by police officers investigating the drug trade. in Central Indiana. A multiagency task force targets violent drug offenders, arresting 112 people last year. Nearly all of those arrests involved the use of a confidential informant or some other covert measure. “In a perfect world, we wouldn’t ask 19-year-olds to do this,” said DeVere Woods, a criminologist at Indiana State University. “But as long as the police are not making promises they can’t keep, and as long as they are presenting options and allowing the individual, the informant, to make determinations on their own–then it’s legitimate. There are a lot of 19-year-olds being sent to Iraq and there are a lot of 19-year-olds in the criminal justice system.”