A New York business owner was targeted by local police after they became suspicious of his store. As a result, they sent in an undercover informant on two separate occasions who ultimately hurt them a lot more than he helped.
On the second visit, the informant allegedly planted and photographed crack cocaine, which led to the arrest of store owner Donald Andrews Jr.
Andrews operates a “smoke shop” in Scotia that sells incense and other smoking paraphernalia that can easily be used for other illicit activities.
Andrews' attorney, Kevin Luibrand, narrated a video that was shot by in-store surveillance cameras that appears to show the informant planting and photographing the crack.
"He comes in [and] places the crack on the counter," Luibrand said. "Crack, which under federal sentencing guidelines, would get him 4 years in jail. Under New York State law would get him 2 to 7 years in jail."
There are seven cameras in plain view in Andrews’ small store.
His legal problems forced Andrews to shutter the smoke shop from April 6 to 18. Since he's reopened, business hasn't been as brisk as before. Andrews contends it has something to do with the media coverage around his arrest.
He said a sheriff's deputy visited him at his home on April 17 and explained to him that after reviewing footage from the store security cameras authorities determined Andrews had not committed a crime. The lawman apologized.
That's not enough for Andrews and his attorney. They plan to file a lawsuit, and Horan said the time has come for police and prosecutors to re-consider the role of confidential informants.
So who's gonna make that right? Why, the taxpayers, of course. He is in the process of filing a wrongful arrest lawsuit.