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Today's Top Snitch Story: The Tale of the Grim Reaper

Anjuli Verma,
Drug Law Reform Project
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November 1, 2007

Our government does not appear to be willing to hold their own informants, “snitches” or “cooperators” accountable – even when they take human life.

This problem was evident with today’s news about the case of Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa, Sr.

Scarpa murdered many people while on the federal government payroll as an informant. Evidence in the ongoing trial has demonstrated that the FBI agent in charge knew and allegedly conspired with Scarpa to commit the murders. But today prosecutors dropped murder charges against the FBI agent, Roy Lindley DeVecchio, because the informant’s mistress – a key witness who was also cooperating as an informant for the prosecution – changed her story.

It looks like the public may never know exactly what went on between “The Grim Reaper” and the FBI, but one thing is for sure: It stinks. If the solutions we are proposing were in effect, less people would be dead today and the FBI would not have had to confront such a damning scandal. Although the Scarpa story does not directly involve the use of informants in the drug law enforcement context, all of the ingredients in our nation’s flawed informant system are in the mix.

With the launch of our new campaign, “Unnecessary Evil,” we’ll be telling you some of the most scandalous snitch stories right here in the days and weeks to come. Informant-related scandals have been making headlines nationwide. Not only are these people committing murder and other violent felonies while on the government payroll, they are also being shielded from any civil or criminal consequences for their crimes. In other words, they get a free pass – plus some spending money.

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