A DEA Agent and His Rogue Informant To Cost Taxpayers $356k

DEA Agent Lee Lucas recently torpedoed a drug conspiracy case in Mansfield, Ohio. Turns out, it wasn't the first time for Lucas.

Federal drug agent Lee Lucas, whose rogue informant botched a major drug conspiracy case in Mansfield, had the same problem in Florida. And it could cost taxpayers $356,000.

That's how much a Miami businessman spent defending himself in a case with a bad informant Lucas handled 15 years ago. This month, a federal judge is expected to decide how much the businessman's family should be reimbursed for legal bills related to the case, though prosecutors are likely to appeal.


The case mirrors the Mansfield investigation, in which Lucas' informant has admitted to lying and setting up nearly two dozen people, many of whom were his rivals in selling crack cocaine. Judges or juries later threw out charges against 23 of 26 people indicted, and a federal grand jury is investigating Lucas' role in the Mansfield case.

Von Schlieffen was released from prison after seven years by U.S. District Judge Wilkie Ferguson. He died in 2003 at age 58 and the money will go to his estate.

Here's the very important part:

"The bad faith in this case is a natural and probable result of the lack of conscientious and careful oversight by law enforcement agents in the use of paid informants," Ferguson said in a 2003 court order that prosecutors have appealed.

"Today's criminal justice system is at risk of being exploited by confidential informants like Groebe," Ferguson said. "The only people who can protect the system against the 'rogue actions' of confidential informants are those who use them: the government."

As for the money,

Under federal law, if the government brings a case and acts in bad faith, a person can seek the amount spent on attorney fees, though the appeals process can extend for years. Prosecutors agreed on the amount of the fees, according to court documents, but are expected to continue appealing whether agents and their informants acted in bad faith.

An Ohio federal grand jury is now investigating Lucas for his use of informant Jerrell Bray. Bray admitted he and Lucas set people up. Bray got 15 years.

Bray has been convicted of perjury and sentenced to 15 years in prison. People sent to prison in the case have claimed Lucas and Bray testified that their voices were on secretly recorded tapes of purported drug deals, but the voices on tape were of other people. This month, government investigators gave several people convicted in Mansfield voice tests to compare their voices to those on the undercover tapes.

As Von Schlieffen's attorneys point out:

"The government, rather than heed Judge Ferguson's warnings regarding Agent Lucas, instead allowed him to go off to Ohio to imprison other innocents," the attorneys said.

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  • Display: Sort:
    the DEA is, itself, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 06:24:28 AM EST
    a rogue agency, with no legitimate purpose for its existence, other than to satisfy the ego of richard nixon.

    it should be terminated by the next president.

    Since the moral and liberty based.... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:32:18 AM EST
    arguments against the right of the DEA have fallen on deaf corrupt ears, maybe economics will work.

    We simply can't afford to flush all that money down the DEA drain anymore.


    Thanks, Jeralyn! (none / 0) (#1)
    by JamesTX on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 10:09:42 PM EST
    Please keep telling us about what is wrong with the criminal justice system, even though it doesn't draw much readership nowadays. Someday, people will make the connection between executive fiat, prosecutorial discretion, and police power. Right now, they hate executive fiat, but they love police power. They are obviously confused! While they work it out, it is important to keep getting the important news out, even if it gets ignored.

    the war against Tyranny (none / 0) (#2)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 10:53:00 PM EST
    in America is always ongoing, and Jeralyn is leading us into battle...

    also, gotta love the way America treats the war against drugs concerning it's own citizens...I guess all is fair, no matter how immoral and illegal it should be, in respect to war...