Police in Houston and around the state often rely on informants for tips that lead to arrests on drug charges. Authorities say this system is effective for arresting drug traffickers and other criminals. People in the drug trade may not realize that one of their friends or associates has started working for the police. This gives them access to things police officers cannot see or hear.
Planted drug evidence led to unjust convictions
But these informants are not the same as police officers. They are not professional law enforcement agents. Often, they have been arrested themselves and are cooperating with the authorities to avoid a lengthy sentence. Their self-interest may lead them to cross the line, as a police informant apparently did in San Antonio a few years ago. Evidence that the informant planted on two men led to their convictions on felony drug charges in 2018.
Prosecutors did not discover that the evidence against the defendants was fake until later. In a recent hearing, a judge ordered them free on bond while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reviews their cases.
What exactly happened?
Unfortunately, we don’t have much detail about the evidence in question, who the informant was, or how he went about framing the defendants. It is possible that they simply took a felony-level amount of drugs that belonged to themselves or someone else and planted it in a car or home belonging to the defendants. Or maybe he lied to the police, claiming that drugs officers had seized came from the two falsely accused men.
Before they were released, the defendants served almost two years in prison. They cannot get that time back. But under Texas’ Actual Innocence Law, they could be entitled to financial compensation if their convictions are overturned.
Your rights are worth fighting for
Cases like this one show that someone facing drug charges should not give up on finding a positive outcome. Procedural mistakes can be exposed and charges dropped or reduced as a result.