NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The last thing a criminal investigator wants is a list of confidential informants to get into the wrong hands.
The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office began investigating after hearing that lists not only existed but were being sold for profit.
Criminal investigators depend on informants to break many cases, so protecting the tipster’s identity is important. When a fake list of informants appeared on social media, Sheriff Jason Bridges was concerned.
“It’s scandalous information that two people put together that they eventually sold to some drug dealers,” Bridges said.
Lists were sold multiple times, the sheriff said. How it got started sounds like something out of a soap opera.
“It was actually produced by a person who used to work for a bonds company. They are no longer there," Bridges said. “That person dated somebody who was in and out of jail who was a drug dealer we’ve arrested many times for drugs in our county. And they had a relationship together, and during that relationship, they coerced a list of people, who I guess they thought were informants for us.”
They’re not. But some on the list are not strangers to the sheriff’s office.
“Many of those people we’ve arrested before, and some of those people were in prison," Bridges said. "They’ve been in prison for some time, and it’s because of drugs.”
However, to be considered drug informants when they’re not puts people at risk.
"They have to probably worry about threats being made toward them,” Bridges said.
With the word out that the informant list is fake, Bridges is thinking drug dealers will stop buying it. He assures the public the informant names his office uses won’t get in the wrong hands.
So far, no charges have been filed. However, Bridges said he’s asked the district attorney’s office to look into the matter.