Police crimes during narcotic investigations


Crime in association with enforcement of drug laws is not rare. There are three major categories:

(a) Those crimes in which enforcement authorities engage during the investigation apprehension and trial of suspected drug offenders. Here occur violations of the rights of citizens by illegal electronic surveillance, invasions of privacy, interrogations by beating or torture, false arrest, planting of evidence, perjured testimony and the like. These can be, from the standpoint of the police, morally proper crimes which are seen as being in the service of the law to ensure application of criminal sanctions against offenders. Prosecutions of authorities for such violations appear to be rare, although observations made by outsiders indicate that the violations are unduly prevalent.

(b) Crime which occurs when authorities take advantage of their position vis-a-vis a suspect to achieve personal gain. Typically the drug dealer may have his money or possessions stolen; an officer may steal funds intended for an informant but require the informant nevertheless to sign a receipt for full payment; the drugs carried by a suspect may be seized and either resold or given away to others; or female offenders may be exploited sexually. In these and other like instances the offender is in no position to complain and may in fact consider it a fair trade if the police in turn reduce the charges or fail to pursue the investigation further.

(c) The rarely occurring crime which involves a shift to chronic predatory offences, perhaps in partnership with drug dealers. It is not unknown for enforcement personnel to hijack drug shipments, rob or kill dealers, be paid to betray by reporting on enforcement plans, and otherwise "go rogue". In such instances the officer is at greatest risk of apprehension for he no longer has a sanctuary as regards the offender.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
07.12.2021 – 00:42 CET