The case of Andrew Sadek, a North Dakota college student who was coerced, his mother says, into being a confidential informant for a drug task force, made the national news Sunday when CBS TV’s “60 Minutes” aired a segment about it.
Sadek disappeared May 1, 2014. His body was found almost two months later in the Red River, about a mile north of Breckenridge, Minn. He had been shot in the head and was wearing a backpack full of rocks.
His parents didn’t know that their only surviving son had gotten himself into legal trouble — he was busted for selling a total of $80 worth of marijuana in two transactions to a person who turned out to be another informant. North Dakota law makes that a Class A felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Sadek was never arrested, never charged, never told that, if convicted, he likely would have been sentenced to probation or jail time rather than prison, said his mother, Tammy Sadek in an interview Sunday.
Instead, he was recruited to become a confidential informant by Jason Weber, then head of the Southeast Multi-County Agency Drug Task Force.
A videotape of Weber’s talk with Sadek can be seen here.
“That was his 20th birthday,” his mother said. “His last birthday. He’s clearly nervous … For them to say in their report that he was not pressured is ridiculous.”
Sadek only completed about half of his assignment to wear a wire and do undercover drug buys on and around the campus of the State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. Then, authorities said, he stopped contacting them. His mother, however, said he was still living in the same residence hall and shouldn’t have been difficult to find.
He was last seen leaving the residence hall about 2 a.m. on May 1, 2014. His body was found June 27. No alcohol or drugs were found in his body. The gun never has been found.
Some initially speculated that Sadek had killed himself. The manner of death on his death certificate is “indeterminate.”
Tammy Sadek said she hopes the “60 Minutes” segment leads to new information.
“I know there’s people out there who know exactly what happened to Andrew,” she said. She also hopes it leads to change in the way police recruit and handle informants.
“I’m hoping this interview sparks some legislation, whether it’s statewide or nationwide, to get some laws in place,” she said.
The North Dakota and Minnesota Bureaus of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the Sadek case. Tammy Sadek said she hasn’t heard from an investigator since April or May.
The “60 Minutes” segment also talks about confidential informant cases in Massachusetts, Mississippi and Florida. In Florida, the parents of a woman who was killed after going on a drug buy for police received a $2.8 million settlement after suing the city of Tallahassee.
Tammy Sadek said the family hasn’t decided whether to file a lawsuit in Andrew’s death. They are aware there is a two-year statute of limitations to do so.
They have started a Facebook page called “Justice for Andrew Sadek,” and will post the “60 Minutes” segment there.