Confidential Informants

2015 Dec 06 Lesley Stahl

Lesley Stahl reports on law enforcement’s controversial use of young confidential informants in the war on drugs, some of whose cases ended tragically.

When many of us hear the term “confidential informants” — or as law enforcement calls them, C.I.s — we think of mobsters wearing a wire to ensnare their bosses, and get themselves a better deal. But there’s another kind of confidential informant out there that doesn’t quite fit the Hollywood image, and in reality may be far more common: young people — many of them college students caught selling small amounts of marijuana, who are recruited by law enforcement to wear a wire and make undercover drug buys in exchange for having their charges reduced or dropped altogether.

It’s a practice we discovered that’s going on across the country, largely under the radar — and in some cases, with tragic consequences.

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