Thursday, February 10, 2005

Can You Spot the Missing $50?

An informant-based drug case generated by the Dogwood Trails Narcotics Task Force went to trial in Palestine, TX this week. The Palestine Herald-Press, which has been known to publish task force press releases under its associate editor's byline, gave this account of the key transaction.

Read it closely. See if you can spot the missing $50:
Allyson Mitchell, Anderson County assistant district attorney, said the drug transaction in the parking lot of the Oak Hill Apartments involved McKenzie, Baker and the confidential informant.

Moments before the transaction, the trio exited Baker's apartment and got inside a car in the complex' parking lot, according to the state

"That's when the deal took place," Mitchell told the Herald-Press. "He (the confidential informant) bought $250 of crack cocaine from Seneca (McKenzie)...He was able to identify him out of a lineup later."

A short time after the alleged drug deal, McKenzie was pulled over by authorities for having an expired registration sticker, according to Mitchell.

"He had $1,100 on him and $200 of it were the Dogwood Trails Narcotics Task Force's impress funds," Mitchell said.

The task force's funds - which were used by the confidential informant - were identifiable through serial numbers, she added.

Okay, so the confidential informant was observed leaving the house and getting into the vehicle with the suspect. The drug deal took place inside the vehicle, they pull away, and a short time later they're pulled over on a pretext stop. The CI said he paid $250 for the drugs, but only $200 was found on the alleged drug dealer. They were under surveillance the whole time.

So where's the missing $50?

If you figure it out, I'd suggest you contact the Anderson County District Attorney and let him know.

It's really no wonder the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and President Bush want to get rid of these flaky task forces.
BTW, stemming from incidents in June 2002, this is not one of the 72 cases from the racial profiling incident in Palestine last fall, but I was especially interested in the details after learning more about snitches recently.

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