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Cops Are Recruiting Young Informants in the Drug War -- and Risking Their Lives

When low-level drug offenders become informants in exchange for leniency, lack of protections can make for fatal results.

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The problem with—I want to digress and give you my opinion about it. But after that, they used—she called me, and I had just come back from Passover. She was supposed to come with me, but she was in a home at a funeral, and she missed a urine test. And they threw her in jail that weekend, which was the month before they raided her apartment. And I think it was like to scare her, so that later down the road, before her probation was complete, they could do something like this. I don’t know. It’s just—I became suspicious after she was murdered. And—

AMY GOODMAN: So tell us what happened when—

MARGIE WEISS: —she called me after that, and she said, "Mom, I want you to surround me with your love and light, because I’m thinking of doing something dangerous." And I paused, and I said, "Rachel, did you just hear what you said? You know, what are you talking about? Don’t do it. But what is it that you’re talking about? If you know ahead of time that you’re going to do something dangerous, that’s enough evidence to tell you not to do it." And she goes, "Well, you know how I’m a criminal justice major? I thought it would be really cool to like write a book about, you know, working undercover and exposing what it’s all about." And I said, "That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard you tell me." I said, "Don’t do it." And she said, "Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine." And I said, "Don’t do it." And all I knew was the word "undercover" at that time; I didn’t know "informant." I didn’t know the word "snitch" for like at least two years after that. And she said, "Well, I’ll call you on Monday. We’re going to do it on Monday, and I’ll talk—you know, I’ll tell you what’s going on the whole way through." And apparently that was the first time and the only time that they used her before she was murdered. And when she called me, the policeman was there in the car. His name was Pooh Bear. And she was talking to him and giggling and acting like it was just an adventure, and that he had her back and he would keep her safe, and then it was all over. And I was certain that since she told me about it, and he knew that I knew, that it really was all over.

So when they called me a month later at 3:00 in the morning and said my daughter was missing, I thought, well, maybe she’s at a festival, or maybe she’s with a friend, because I had been called by her father at Thanksgiving time, and she was at a festival, and I found her through her friends. So I started calling her friends. And I said, "Do I need to come up to Tallahassee?" And they said, "No, not at this time." Now, she had been murdered at 7:00 on Wednesday, and they were calling me at 3:00 in the morning on Thursday. And I just went into shock, and I was like in shock for probably the next two years. But at about 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning, Officer, I believe his name was Odom, called me and said, "You can come up now." And I didn’t get out of the house 'til 11:00. And, you know, what was weird was, a half year before my father died, and they called me, and I was out of the house in 15 minutes. So that's why I think I was in shock. And I told my husband, and he was ready to follow me up there. And I said, "No, she’s going to be OK. She’s going to be OK." And I talked to her father. I talked to her best friends. I was searching for her. And so, I drove up, and when I got near Perry, which is where they found her body in a ditch, which was another county out of Tallahassee, the victim’s advocate was talking to me, Kim Powell, and she said—I can’t remember the exact words, but she said they might find Rachel’s—you know, with her missing, they might just find her body. And I said, "Are you saying that that’s a possibility or probability?" meaning one would mean yes and one would mean no. And I had to hang up the phone, and I just screamed as loud and as long as I could. And I was hoarse from it.

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