Police are recruiting young drug offenders to become confidential informants on drug cases—with little training and tragic consequences: 

According to a confidential deposition from a friend of Hoffman’s, the police made it clear that run-of-the-mill pot busts wouldn’t be sufficient to work off her charges. Instead, the friend said, the cops were looking for large quantities of ‘heroin, cocaine, crack, Ecstasy, guns.’ The Florida State student told her about a young man he’d seen dealing drugs at a car-detailing shop near campus—the man, whom he knew only as Dre, might have access to Ecstasy and cocaine, and possibly more. Hoffman, it turned out, had just had her Volvo worked on by Dre at the same shop, and he had joked about the car’s pungent marijuana smell. Soon, she was wired up and dispatched to the shop, where, using her friend’s connection, she put in a request to Dre’s brother-in-law, Deneilo Bradshaw, to buy a stash of cocaine, fifteen hundred Ecstasy pills, and, as she described it, a ‘small and pretty’ handgun. The order was large, by any standard. She wanted the drugs for friends who would be visiting from Miami, she explained. And the gun? ‘I’m a little Jewish girl,’ she told Bradshaw, as police listened via a surveillance device. ‘I need to be safe.’

By early May, the deal had been arranged. She was to show up with thirteen thousand dollars, and they’d make the swap—at Bradshaw’s parents’ house, in a quiet green neighborhood on the outskirts of Tallahassee. Behind the scenes, the police worked up an Operational and Raid Plan, which involved more than a dozen local and federal agents.

“The Throwaways.” — Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker

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