Sunday, February 12, 2006

Feds tolerated bank robber snitch for decades

Following the lead of Professor Alexandra Natapoff, I've become fascinated in the last year with the way law enforcement's use of confidential informants often amounts to sanctioning crimes as serious as those snitches supposedly help solve. In New Jersey, after indulging his criminal activity for almost three decades, the feds aggressively prosecuted one of their most storied snitches, Michael Guibilo, who was sentenced last week to 25 years in prison. That likely amounts to a life sentence for the 60 year old defendant who is in poor health, but it comes after the feds tolerated a fairly radical criminal career for a very long time. According to NorthJersey.com:

Guibilo [was] a legendary undercover operative who began taping FBI agents because he didn't trust them -- a move that [his attorney] claimed resulted in trumped up charges against Guibilo.

For more than 25 years, Guibilo worked with the FBI, helping them foil an alleged plot to kill Rudolph Giuliani when he was a federal prosecutor and prevent a Paterson housing police officer's murder. But as he built credibility with the FBI, Guibilo developed an equally long rap sheet.

Nearly a dozen times, the Belleville man received light sentences for such crimes as bank robbery and gun possession, while nearly 20 other charges were dropped.

Despite the charges, and despite a judge ordering federal authorities in 1993 to stop using the informant, Guibilo continued to work for the FBI. [Defense lawyer Frank] Arleo said Guibilo's relationship with the FBI cooled in 2003.

Light sentences for "bank robbery" in exchange for snitching? You have to wonder if Guibilo hadn't begun taping his conversations with FBI agents (imagine: he found them untrustworthy) if they would have prosecuted him for these most recent bank robberies, or if they'd have looked the other way the way they had many times before.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grits,

What about Whitey Bulger? He was the FBI snitch Boston that helped and FBI Agent named Conley be a star. One problem, Bulger and another mobster named Flemmi were killing people; bribing the FBI Agent; running a criminal enterprise; and doing it while they were snitching.

These incidents are treated as anomolies even though these incidents appear with more regularity than you read about.

Law enforcement (federal or state) use to be an honorable way of protecting and service. Now it's hoping that the way you do it wasn't tape recorded, video taped, or televised.

hope said...

"Law enforcement (federal or state) use to be an honorable way of protecting and service. Now it's hoping that the way you do it wasn't tape recorded, video taped, or televised."

Surely...surely, we have enough sense as a people to remedy that.

Maybe.

I'm hoping and praying we do.