Police Use of Confidential Informants in Drug Investigations

Police use of confidential informants is widespread in Pennsylvania.  Police often use these "informants" to buy or purchase narcotics, set up drug sales over the phone, and provide other information that the police use to make drug arrests.  What is not clear is who these informants are.  As they are "confidential", people facing drug charges do not know the informant's identity, if they have a criminal record, or even if the police are paying them.

Pennsylvania courts have held that the defense has a right to know not only the identity of these informants, but that they should have access to their entire police file.  The defense may be entitled to know if the informant has provided credible or reliable information in the past and what the results of those cases has been.

Moreover, identification by the informant may become an issue.  Many times police will use an informant to make a drug purchase inside a house or vehicle.  The informant may be the only witness to the purchase itself.  A viable defense to a charge of possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) of simple drug possession may lie in the informant providing information to the defense that he bought the drugs from someone else.

Drug charges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are serious offenses and carry the possibility of jail if you are convicted.  If you or someone you know has been charged with possession with the intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance, or criminal conspiracy, you need an experienced attorney to handle all aspects of your case.  Call Scarpello and LaTour and speak directly with one of our attorney's about your case today.