criminal case investigation

Where Does Criminal Case Info Come From?

Have you ever wondered where law enforcement gets its information in a criminal case? Officials use many tools and methods to try to build a case against a suspect. In addition to surveillance and warrants, agents often rely on informants, undercover agents, and post-arrest interviews to get more information for official drug trafficking and money laundering investigations.

Criminal Case Info from Informants

Agents and police officers frequently rely on informants—that is, sources who know something about the alleged drug trafficking or money laundering operation—to build their case.  An informant may be a close associate or someone who participates in the offense.  In fact, an informant who’s already arrested may decide to give agents information about others in exchange for a better result in their case.  The informant may just be trying to make money, feeding agents information about drug trafficking or money laundering. Informant motivations can vary.

Why this matters to you.  The existence of an informant may have legal complications for the rest of the government’s investigation. For example, a law enforcement agent may know that the informant is known for lying, but could hide that fact when asking the court for a search warrant based on the informant’s information. That is a violation of your rights. In any criminal case, Stephen G. Ralls and Grant Wille review cases for signs of informant use. If necessary, we litigate the case in front of the court to force the government to share information about the informant.

Criminal Case Info from Undercover Agents

Investigators occasionally rely on undercover agents to infiltrate a criminal conspiracy to develop the information needed to bring drug trafficking or money laundering charges. Undercover agents are law enforcement agents who take on assumed identities to build a relationship with the suspect(s) involved in their criminal case. These agents can record conversations they have with a suspect, to use later in court.

However, say that undercover agents encourage you to engage in criminal activity (a reverse sting operation), then special legal restrictions apply. For example, if you’re not predisposed to commit the crime that the undercover agent talks you into committing, we may raise an “entrapment” argument in your defense. Or it could be that the agent wants to build a bigger case, so they push you to handle drugs of a type or quantity you aren’t inclined to work with. Ralls & Wille may be able to raise a “sentencing manipulation” argument in your favor.

Criminal Case Info from Post-Arrest Interviews (aka Post-Arrest Interrogations)

After arresting a suspect or co-conspirator of a suspect, law enforcement agents often interview the person to extract more information. Their goal is to obtain a confession from a defendant or to create a new informant.

When US law enforcement has subjected a client of Ralls & Wille to a post-arrest interview, we carefully review the procedures officers used before beginning the interview to ensure your rights were not violated. Because our lawyers speak Spanish, we can personally review the interview to ensure you understood your rights and voluntarily waived those rights before being part of the interview.

Unfortunately, the attorneys at Ralls & Wille have also seen a pattern of torture and abuse during post-arrest interrogations conducted in Mexico.  In such cases, our attorneys continue to fight for our clients who have been subjected to such abuse. If you’d like more information on how we work with clients from the US and Mexico, please contact us today.

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