Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jan 2002
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Bill Miller, Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau
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DALLAS - In some drug busts involving a highly paid informant, the
substances that were seized weren't narcotics at all, Dallas Police
Chief Terrell Bolton said Monday.

Bolton's disclosure of the informant, who has been paid $200,000 over
the past two years, came after a drug suspect complained to local
media that he was framed by narcotics officers, The Associated Press
reported. He said he was charged with dealing crushed gypsum, the
substance used to make sheet rock.

"As it turns out, some of the evidence seized was simulated
substances," Bolton said during a news conference. But, he added, "We
have not found anything now to suggest that this confidential
informant was not aboveboard. If we find anything wrong later, we'll
make a decision about what to do at that time."

Bolton said that the informant took a polygraph, and that the man said
that he didn't know the drugs were fake. The chief said the man passed
the test and would likely be used again by the department.

"Now, some people may frown on this," Bolton said. "But I'm sorry; in
this war on drugs, you can't get the information you need from your
grandmother or the folks next door."

The unidentified man has been the department's most active informant
during the past year, said Deputy Chief J.C. Martinez, who oversees
the narcotics division.

Martinez said the informant helped make 78 drug buys, which resulted
in 35 arrests.

Bolton confirmed that charges against four people were dropped when
police learned that the drugs were fake. He added that charges against
five other suspects were reduced to allegations of distributing
simulated drugs.

"Keep in mind, it's also a crime to sell fake drugs," Bolton

Bolton said security along the border between the United States and
Mexico has increased sharply since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Subsequently, the drug supply has shrunk, boosting street values and
increased incidents of fake substances.

"Let this be a warning," Bolton said. "Since Sept. 11, you don't know
what you're getting out there."

Bolton made his comments Monday while standing behind a table stacked
with plastic-wrapped bricks of the fake drugs. He said he didn't know
exactly what was in the bricks but noted that lab technicians said it
could be deadly if ingested or inhaled, and that it could clog arteries.

Also piled on the table were numerous sawed-off shotguns and
military-style rifles with large-capacity magazines, all seized in
recent drug busts. There was also a "street-sweeper" shotgun and an

Bolton boasted about increased seizures of various drugs during the
past year, compared to 2000 figures. For example, 8,773 grams of
amphetamines were captured in 2001, compared to 5,683 grams in 2000.
Likewise, 108,087 grams of methamphetamines were seized in 2001; in
2000, police got 54,069 grams. Seizures of marijuana and rock cocaine
were down 21 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

The chief said he is confident his department will withstand any
lawsuits that might be brought by former suspects in the cases
involving fake drugs.

"We'll be very glad to do battle with anyone who wants to fight us on
these issues," he said. Then, motioning to the confiscated weapons
arrayed before him, Bolton said, "This ought to be confidence enough
in your police chief."
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