Definition: when a defendant claims that he or she would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing so by law enforcement officials.
“Entrapment never happens,” DEA special agent Steve told me once. “There is too much at stake.”
In fact, the DEA’s federal conviction rate is almost 99% because of the agents’ ability to produce a concrete case and connect the dots. They do it, in part, by avoiding any whiff of entrapment.
The protocol was to meet the suspect more than once and keep the conversations similar, and never have any communication with the suspect that wasn’t recorded by the DEA.
In my first two cases, DEA special agent Steve told me to always be aware of the issue of entrapment and avoid it. He told me to zip it, to talk less, and listen more. Let the suspect engage me with the drug deal. Be more like a reporter. Ask a question. Let the suspect answer. Let him incriminate himself.
That way it’s crystal clear that the suspect chose to engage in a drug deal — and, later, he can’t cry foul and get away with it
Excerpted from the forthcoming memoir, The Baggage Handler.