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Florida: DHS Snitch Busted for Trying to Sell Informant Status to Federal Prisoner

by Monte McCoin

On February 26, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Darrin P. Gayles sentenced a former confidential informant for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to a year in prison and a year of supervised release for obstructing justice. In exchange for a cash payment, the informant had offered to sell informant status and the possibility of a sentence reduction to a federal prisoner for cooperating in an investigation.

Miguel Rodriguez-Sierra worked as an informant for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Miami from 2003 until May 2016. He admitted in December 2017 to plotting to sell information to an unidentified federal prisoner who had no role in or knowledge of a specific drug trafficking operation, with the expectation the false information would lead investigators to offer the prisoner a reduction in his federal prison term.

The prisoner instead reported Rodriquez-Sierra’s offer and agreed to cooperate with agents from DHS, ICE and the FBI. During the course of the investigation between November 2015 and November 2016, investigators documented two separate $5,000 payments made to Rodriguez-Sierra through an undercover officer who claimed to be an associate of the prisoner.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said Rodriguez-Sierra’s scheme was designed to fraudulently support a sentence reduction for the prisoner through purchased information, a practice that he knew was forbidden by DHS due to his longstanding role as a confidential informant.

Ironically, according to the charges filed against Rodriguez-Sierra, the federal prisoner who exposed the scheme will most likely be considered for a legitimate sentence reduction in exchange for his cooperation in the case. See: United States v. Rodriguez-Sierra, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Fl.), Case No. 1:17-cr-20872-DPG-1. 

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Related legal case

United States v. Rodriguez-Sierra