Andrew Sadek: A Life Lost For $80 Worth of Pot
20-year-old North Dakota resident Andrew Sadek was caught selling a small amount of marijuana on his college campus. Cops then pressured him to become an undercover informant. A short time later he turned up dead. His body was found in the Red River. He had a gunshot wound to the head and was attached to a backpack filled with rocks.
Now his family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the law enforcement agents who pushed their son into becoming an informant.
The Full Story
Sadek was a student at the North Dakota State College of Science. In November 2013 he got caught selling $80 worth of pot. Police then searched his dorm room and found a grinder with marijuana residue. He was then brought in for interrogation.
During the interrogation, authorities pressured him to take a deal in which he would do undercover work as a secret informant. As part of the deal, he had to seek out some drug dealers and make a series of purchases.
“Obviously, you’re probably not going to get 40 years, but is it a good possibility you’re going to get prison time if you don’t help yourself out? Yeah, there is,” Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Weber told Sadek during the interrogation.
“That’s probably not a way to start off your young adult life and career, right? What I’m going to ask for you to do is do some buys for me . . . then depending on how you do . . . a lot of this could go away.”
A video of the interrogation has since been released. You can see it below.
Six months after Sadek agreed to become an undercover informant he was found dead. So far, nobody knows for sure what happened, and his killer has not been found.
But last week, the Sadek family filed a wrongful death suit against Richland County and Deputy Weber. Andrew’s parents have also requested that the FBI get involved in trying to figure out what happened.
Andrew’s mom, Tammy, is also working with North Dakota lawmakers to create new laws that would protect informants, and that would decrease penalties for anti-marijuana laws.
Why This Case Is Important
First and foremost, this case is important because it marks a tragedy in which a young person was murdered. But it also highlights the dangers associated with the U.S.’s current anti-cannabis laws. These laws create too many situations where non-violent offenders find themselves facing severe and heavy-handed punishments.
In this case, anti-cannabis laws gave law enforcement the power to strong-arm Sadek into becoming an informant, which ended up putting him in very dangerous situations.
And this isn’t the only time something like this has happened. In fact, 60 Minutes did a special about police informants last winter. They found that stats about the number of people being used as secret informants don’t exist.
The show also found that law enforcement agents regularly use minor drug offenses as a way of pressuring people to become informants. And many of these people end up getting killed. Changing drug laws could help solve this problem and would decrease the number of people swept into the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses.