Sheriff deputies in Louisiana were unable to monitor an undercover informant getting raped, an informant who they sent in a drug house to catch a meth dealer.
The informant was wearing a hidden camera but it was only recording the event, not transmitting it so police could listen in real time.
She eventually left the home and it was only then that officers found out and arrested the drug dealer.
Here’s more from the AP:
A woman outfitted with a tiny microphone and hidden camera walked up to a dilapidated drug house on a chilly afternoon last year looking to buy meth from a dealer known on the streets as “Mississippi.”
But as the informant disappeared inside with a career criminal with a rap sheet spanning three decades, her law enforcement handlers left her undercover on her own — unprotected and unmonitored in real time. And the devices she carried passively recorded a crime far more horrific than any drug buy.
Under threat of violence, the dealer forced the woman to perform oral sex on him — twice — in an attack so brazen he paused at one point to conduct a separate drug deal, according to interviews and confidential law enforcement records obtained by The Associated Press.
“It was one of the worst depictions of sexual abuse I have ever seen,” said a local official who viewed the footage and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the ongoing case.
“Just the audio from it is enough to turn your stomach,” the official said. “It’s a female being sexually brutalized while she’s crying and whimpering.”
Even as the woman cried and her assailant threatened to put her “in the hospital,” narcotics deputies remained down the block in the blighted neighborhood, unaware of what was going on. That’s because, as authorities told the AP, they never considered such an attack might happen and the devices the woman carried didn’t have the ability to transmit the operation to law enforcement in real time.
“It was recording but not to where my guys were monitoring it,” said Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood, blaming the January 2021 incident on his inexperience from only being in the top job six months at that time. “There are always things you learn that you can do better.”
Records show it wasn’t until the woman left the area on her own and contacted her handlers that deputies searched the single-family home and arrested Antonio D. Jones, 48, on charges of second-degree rape, false imprisonment and distribution of meth after recovering 5 grams of the substance in the sting.
Deputies surveilling the home after the woman went inside assumed she “must be OK” because someone else entered after her to buy drugs, said Lt. Mark Parker, the ranking officer in the operation.
Parker, who retired this month, told the AP that the sheriff’s office didn’t start using equipment capable of monitoring in real time until after the alleged rape, and often would send informants into stings without any recording equipment at all.
“We’ve always done it this way,” Parker said. “She was an addict and we just used her as an informant like we’ve done a million times before. Looking back, it’s easy to say, ‘What if?’”
“There are always things you learn that you can do better.” If that isn’t the understatement of the year.
Meanwhile, this informant who was raped still has her own criminal record and suffering this way at the behest of law enforcement did nothing to expunge her record:
And while it’s not clear what kind of deal the woman struck with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, her cooperation as an informant didn’t seem to make much difference in clearing her own criminal record.
Just three weeks after her recorded assault, court records show, the woman was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from an arrest that happened about a month before the sting, and she’s been pulled over and booked on possession charges at least twice since then. The woman, who declined interview requests and is not being named because the AP does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, pleaded guilty to possessing drug paraphernalia last year and was placed in behavioral health court in lieu of jail time.
“It’s absolutely horrible,” said the woman’s attorney, Harold Murry. “She has a drug problem and I don’t know if she’s going to be able to beat it or not. But when you become a snitch, they keep your drug problem going and then they arrest you for it.”
It’s not like monitoring undercover officers or informants is some new type of technology. This kind of stuff has been around for decades upon decades. Heck they’ve been making cop shows about it for ages now.
And to top it off, this woman doesn’t even get her criminal record expunged in whatever deal she made.