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What is a “controlled buy”?

What is a “controlled buy”?
October 19, 2019 Shannon Dawes
Divorce and dissolution under Ohio law.

In order to build cases against those individuals suspected of dealing or selling drugs, law enforcement must oftentimes orchestrate “controlled buys” from these suspects. A “controlled buy,” as the name implies, is a drug sale that is arranged and observed by law enforcement and is meant to result in law enforcement obtaining solid evidence to use in a prosecution against the suspect. In order to carry out these controlled buys, undercover law enforcement officers or informants who are working for law enforcement pose as the person interested in purchasing drugs.

Who Are These Informants Who Purchase Drugs in Controlled Buys? 

Informants in controlled buys may be individuals who are under investigation or who have been charged with criminal conduct of their own. Yet, law enforcement uses these individuals as informants where (1) the informant has significant ties to other, larger drug distributors in the area; (2) the suspect that law enforcement officers are investigating is distrustful of people who he or she does not know; and/or (3) the informant has prior experience in purchasing or receiving drugs. It is rare for law enforcement to use an informant for controlled buys who does not have any criminal history or history of drug use.

Why Do Informants Do It? 

Because many informants used in undercover controlled buys are facing criminal charges of their own, these informants usually agree to participate in these controlled buys in order to get their criminal charges reduced or dismissed entirely. In a few situations, law enforcement may provide financial compensation or some other reward to an informant. If it is rare for an informant performing controlled buys for law enforcement to not have some criminal history or history of drug use, it is even rarer for an informant to not receive some consideration or benefit for his or her services.

Should I Be an Informant for Law Enforcement?

If you are finding yourself facing criminal charges in Ohio (especially drug-related charges), you may be wondering whether you can resolve your case by being an informant for law enforcement. Before you call the sheriff’s office or local police department, though, you should keep the following in mind:

  • It is the prosecutor, not law enforcement, that typically decides whether charges will be filed against you, what those charges will be, and what sentence or outcome will be pursued. Make sure that the local prosecutor handling your case is aware of your desire to work and attempt to secure a firm commitment as to what the prosecutor would be willing to offer in return for your work before you begin performing controlled buys.
  • It is dangerous work. Although law enforcement will take steps to help ensure you remain safe, they cannot guarantee your safety in all circumstances – especially if you do not follow the directions and heed the warnings of law enforcement.
  • Your duties don’t end once you make the buy. In order to be of any value to law enforcement, you must also be willing to appear and testify when subpoenaed in any case that results from the buy. If you fail to do so, you may end up receiving nothing at all for your cooperation.

Why You Need Dawes Legal, LLC On Your Side

You may have other options when it comes to resolving your criminal case. Call Dawes Legal, LLC at (614) 733-9999 and let us explore all of your choices with you. Our experienced attorneys may be able to achieve the same results for you without you having to put yourself in danger. Don’t wait: call Dawes Legal, LLC today.