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Drug Informant Tells All

There’s an interesting look at one of the hidden areas of the drug war from the Philadelphia Daily News. It’s the story of Stacy Litz and her experience as an undercover informant.

Litz was recruited by police after they already had her in their sights as a purchaser and dealer of LSD. She was facing 13 felony charges when cops offered her a way out. If Litz would agree to participate in getting others arrested, it might go easier on her in court. She did “do a deal” later for prescription drugs under police supervision, and Litz ended up with five years probation on the LSD charges. She also faced the outrage of her peers – Litz had been an advocate for legalization and was now seen as a turncoat.

The method is so old it’s become a movie trope. Bust one player and leverage that into more arrests – either by working up the chain through to a supplier, or by using the original defendant as a confidential informant. Ironically, according to the story, Litz herself was the target of an undercover informant. Her purchases of LSD came to light when police used a CI to make a purchase.

Historically, even top mafia bosses have flipped to make a deal and avoid long prison sentences. It’s not much of a choice when the sentence faced can be decades long. The choice becomes one of betrayal or incarceration. In our age of social media, going the betrayal route can’t be hushed up. Even without having to testify, Litz found her peers and supporters couldn’t be made to understand – especially since she had been a vocal pro-drug advocate.

Do the police focus on outspoken members of the drug legalization movement? Some think they do. In the end though, until one has to face the dilemma of becoming a martyr or a snitch, none of us really knows which way we’d go.

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