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FBI allowed more informants to commit crimes in 2012

The specter of a low-level offenders accused of a crime being allowed to continue their operations in anticipation of being able to catch a drug kingpin became a reality in a greater number of cases in 2012. The FBI recently reported that it allowed nearly 6,000 law violations by informants. This number was an increase compared to the number of similar infractions reported in 2011.

The FBI contends that these actions are not ideal, but they are helpful in investigating criminalorganizations. The sanctioned crimes are described as Tier I and Tier II activities. Both are described as actions that would be considered misdemeanor or felony offenses under federal or state law, but Tier II offenses are authorized by a senior FBI field manager.

This story is important because of the many low level offenders who are threatened with criminal penalties in exchange for testimony or information on higher level offenders. This can lead to a suspect getting into further difficulties with law enforcement and “keeps them indebted” to the government. When a suspect decides to stop helping the government, he or she could face severe criminal consequences.

The FBI reports that it has allowed accused criminals to continue their activities in exchange for information for more than a decade. It is reported that other federal law enforcement agencies (i.e. the Drug Enforcement Agency) do not follow this process.

Because of this, it is important to have the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney at the outset of an investigation (or arrest) so that an accused is not coerced into providing testimony because of the threat of further prosecution.

Source:, “FBI allowed even more crimes in 2012 than in previous year,” December 27, 2013