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Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Close Should Law Enforcement be to Criminal Informants?

It should not surprise anyone that law enforcement agencies have to deal with some pretty unsavory criminals to get information on the drug cartels. But it is surprising that they would allow serious criminals to continue committing new crimes while acting as informants. From the Houston Chronicle:

Trafficking defendant: I was a DEA informer
Defense wants charges dropped, claims immunity
Aug. 3, 2011, 11:14PM

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7682687.html#ixzz1U40eu2Fr

"Lawyers for the drug- trafficking son of one of Mexico's most powerful kingpins contend he helped run the Sinaloa Cartel — and was a fugitive from charges in the United States — while at the same time acting as an informant for U.S. agents.
Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla's legal team is launching the bombshell contention as part of an effort to convince a U.S. judge that charges should be dropped. They claim agents allegedly told Zambada he could keep breaking the law, and be immune from prosecution, in return for tips on rival cartels....
A motion by Zambada's lawyers states that as recently as 2008, he and a top cartel lawyer met at a Mexico City hotel with two DEA agents, and were again assured they were immune from charges.
His allegations are being raised as U.S. agents are taking a beating for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' bungled sting to catch weapons traffickers by letting a load of illegally purchased guns slip into Mexico. The load was lost. Dozens of guns reportedly turned up at crime scenes, including two where a Border Patrol agent was murdered.
Congressional investigators are looking into whether weapons smugglers were FBI informants.
Perhaps the most infamous dealing with a trafficker turned government informant came to light in 2004, when an Immigration and Customs Enforcement snitch known as "Lalo" provided U.S. authorities with information on the Juarez Cartel, while at the same time overseeing the murders of cartel enemies."
That was the infamous "House of Death" case, which the mainstream media ignored.


District clerk bailing on court fees, critics say
Bondsmen should be paying $230, but are billed only $8, judge asserts

Aug. 4, 2011, 7:09AM

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel has not collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs since taking office in January because, critics say, it would hurt business for bail bondsmen who contributed to his campaign.
"He's nervous about doing it because bondsmen supported him a great deal during his election so he wants cover," said Judge Mike Fields, chairman of the county board that licenses bail bondsmen. "No individual or group of individuals should come before your obligation to the citizens of this county when you're an elected official — no matter how tough it is."
The court costs are generated by lawsuits filed against bail jumpers and bondsmen to have bail money forfeited after a defendant fails to appear for court.
Fields said not collecting the money during tight economic times was "baffling." He said the court costs, now set at $8, are supposed to be about $230, a move that would raise more than $1.5 million a year for Harris County.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7682683.html#ixzz1U42XT7pp

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