Why did the police arrest me for buying drugs instead of the dealer?

If the seller was a law enforcement agent, that means the police officers have asked them to sell drugs, and they, of course, will want to protect the drug dealer's identity. There's nothing wrong with police using a confidential informant.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Unless the drug dealer simply managed to escape, probably one of two things happened. Either, 1) the seller happened to be an informant for one of the law enforcement arresting officers, and he or she prefers the dealer stay out of prison so that they can continue being useful as a confidential informant, or 2) the seller was actually an agent of the police. If the second of these two situations is true, then the drug buyer may have a way to avoid a conviction for the purchase of drugs in this case.

What is a confidential informant?

Everyone accused of a crime has the right to subpoena all witnesses to the crime to call in his defense. If the seller was a law enforcement agent, that means the police officers have asked them to sell drugs, and they, of course, will want to protect the drug dealer’s identity. This by itself is fine, as there’s nothing wrong with police using a confidential informant… In fact, it is done all the time. However, a “confidential” police agent who witnesses a crime loses his right to confidentiality – the right to subpoena a witness in their own defense is a constitutional right!

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Can cops sell you drugs?

A qualified and experienced drug charges lawyer would want to bring a motion to discover who the seller was. If a judge agrees that they have to disclose his identity so the buyer’s district attorney or lawyer can interview and subpoena him, even if the person is a confidential informant. Depending on the type of drug and the amounts involved in the deal and the severity of criminal charges, the police may prefer to dismiss the charges rather than lose their confidential informant. Since this defense is based upon U.S. Constitutional protections, this strategy applies in all states. Still, the degree to which the courts honor this motion to discover the police agent may vary.

Can the police arrest me for buying drugs? The Bottom Line

Depending on the type and amount of drugs involved in the deal and whether the crime was committed in public or private, the police may choose to drop the charges. TIP: If you are arrested for a drug offense, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An arrest can have devastating consequences, including loss of a job, student loans, immigration status, family relationships and even custody of your children. The first step toward protecting yourself from these negative outcomes is by hiring a lawyer who has experience handing these types of cases.

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