OPD: $700 paid to Drug Enforcement Task Force’s ‘confidential source’


The Office of the Public Defender said the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force’s “confidential source” was paid $700 for his role in a sting operation against a man now being charged with trafficking methamphetamine.

That $700, which assistant public defender Stephanie Boutsicaris described as a large sum of for perhaps a few hours’ worth of work, is a huge motivator for the “confidential source.”

Boutsicaris, who is counsel for defendant Xiao Ping Wang, said that large amount creates a strong incentive for the “confidential source” to please the police in order to keep these funds coming into his pockets.

Boutsicaris gave this argument in Wang’s motion to compel the Office of the Attorney General or any law enforcement agencies in the CNMI to provide Wang with some materials that are in their possession and are relevant to this case.

The materials that Wang is asking for include any communications between law enforcers and the “confidential source” to negotiate an agreement for services or to negotiate the price of services.

The defendant sought a copy of any agreements to pay the “confidential source” for future events in his case, such as a promise to pay the “confidential source” for testimony or a promise to pay the “confidential source” if a conviction is obtained.

Wang also sought information on any other payments made by law enforcers to the “confidential source” for other cases, if there is any.

Boutsicaris said the requested evidence and information are material to Wang’s defense, and that disclosure would be neither unreasonable nor oppressive to the government, but will facilitate a fair, efficient, and just disposition of the charges against him.

Boutsicaris said that, between December 2018 and February 2019, Wang is alleged to have committed three counts of trafficking methamphetamine.

The lawyer said two of these charges result from the Drug Enforcement Task Force’s sting operations in which the “confidential source” was used.

Boutsicaris said all of the requested information would be exculpatory and material to Wang’s case because the requested materials will be necessary to impeach the “confidential source” at trial, as well as potential evidentiary hearings.

Boutsicaris said the information regarding compensation on other cases is also necessary to demonstrate the “confidential source’s” motivations.

“A confidential source getting a steady income from law enforcement officers will have an even stronger incentive to not contradict law enforcement officers,” she said.

If being paid $700 is a strong motivator, any multiple of such a number will be an increasingly greater motivator for the “confidential source,” Boutsicaris said.

This information, she added, will be extremely helpful in demonstrating the “confidential source’s” bias.

Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested Wang on Capital Hill on Feb. 22, 2019, on three counts of trafficking a controlled substance for allegedly selling “ice” to the “confidential source” during sting operations.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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