There are new developments in the ongoing fallout from a botched drug raid in Houston that left two suspects dead and five officers injured. Now, doubts are spreading over the confidential informant from whom one of the injured narcotics officers used to buy drugs – doubts that the informant even exists.
Drug Raid Goes Bad in Houston
After receiving a tip that drugs were being sold out of a house in the Pecan Park neighborhood, one of the Houston Police Department's narcotics officers sought the help of an informant to purchase drugs there. When the informant emerged with a pack of heroin, Houston police used the drug buy as the basis for a search warrant on the house that they claimed would net large amounts of heroin and illegal guns.
When the officers executed the no-knock search warrant, though, the result was a firefight that killed the two inhabitants and their dog and injured five officers. No heroin was found.
Informant at Heart of Search Warrant Disappears
With the dust settling, the Houston Police Department has scrambled to cover its tracks and make sure its officers did everything by the book. The problem: No one can find the officer's informant, whose testimony about the drug purchase was at the heart of the search warrant for the house.
When he was questioned about his informant during an internal investigation, the officer -– who is in the hospital from the firefight with a gunshot wound to the neck -– provided two different names at two different times. When both of those informants were tracked down and questioned, they insisted that they had never been to the residence in question. The investigation turned to all the officers' other known informants. None of them had been to the house.
Officer Investigated and Removed from Duty
While the internal investigation has been ongoing, the officer behind the potentially fabricated drug buy has been put on leave. As his dark past as a veteran narcotics officer comes to light -– a Houston Chronicle article details the numerous allegations he has against him, many of which include fabricating evidence and providing false testimony, while others involve disturbing displays of force while off duty –- he has hired his own defense lawyer.
Officer Claims Case is a Hit Job Against Him
The claim that the disgraced officer and his defense lawyer are making is that the entire case has become a setup. While claiming politics is behind a criminal investigation is a dangerous step towards undermining the judicial system, between the leaked documents from the internal investigation to the police chief's sudden pivot from backing aggressive statements against critics to calling the officer's conduct a crime, the claim that the officer is being set up to take the fall for systemic problems in the force is not entirely far-fetched.
The irony, of course, is that the officer is now appealing to the same principles of due process that the two victims of the botched drug raid were deprived of.