Judge Throws Out Drug Cases On Informant Issue


As a Drug Enforcement Administration informant, former Mexican police officer Guillermo Francisco Jordan-Pollito has earned more than $350,000 helping the DEA put together more than 80 cases against suspected sellers of cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illicit drugs. The Los Angeles Times reports that Jordan-Pollito used his own paid informants to assist him in setting up drug buys, a fact that was kept from defense lawyers.

The failure of federal prosecutors to disclose that information has resulted in a sharp rebuke from a judge and the dismissal of charges against three defendants. More legal challenges are in the works, including one that will be heard today by another federal judge in Los Angeles.

Ronald Kaye, a former federal public defender now in private practice, uncovered Jordan-Pollito’s use of “sub-informants” last year after combing through telephone records turned over to him by prosecutors in a methamphetamine case.

Kaye showed that a sub-informant, Jose Agapito Gomez, made 29 telephone calls to the defendants during a one-week period leading up to their arrests. Kaye documented 68 calls between Jordan-Pollito and Gomez in the same period.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered the government to disclose names and file numbers of all cases in which Jordan-Pollito or Gomez had been employed and how much they had been paid. When the prosecution refused, Cooper tossed out the indictment and ordered the defendants freed. “The government’s representations regarding the use of confidential informants in this case have repeatedly proven to be unreliable,” the judge said. Cooper said that either the government did not know about the sub-informant, which she called “highly unlikely,” or the government deliberately lied to the defense. “A law enforcement agency must not be allowed to shield itself from accountability by hiring someone outside of law enforcement who is free to violate citizens’ rights,” she said.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-informant10may10,1,4274923.story?coll=la-headlines-california

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