Being arrested with a small amount of marijuana has led to countless tragic deaths. As no one has ever died from smoking marijuana, many have from being used as informants by the police.
Three days before a local teen died, she made a decision that cost her her life. Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old woman from Detroit, was killed after working as a police informant. Hilliard was about to be arrested for a small possession of marijuana Oct. 20 when police offered a way out, according to testimony during a court hearing Thursday. She could set up a drug deal.
With the police listening on speaker phone, Hilliard used her cellphone to call Qasim Raqib, telling him she had someone (an undercover agent) who wanted to buy $335 worth of cocaine and marijuana, according to testimony during Raqib’s preliminary examination Thursday in 36th District Court.
When Raqib arrived at the Motel 6 in Madison Heights 20 minutes later, police arrested him.
Raqib, 30, of Detroit, was released several hours later. Three days later, the mutilated body of Hilliard was discovered ablaze in the street on Detroit’s east side. The dealer has been charged with murder.
Hilliard tragic death brings back memories of Rachel Hoffman, the 23-year-old, Florida State graduate from Tallahassee who also worked as an informant after she was busted with a small amount of marijuana and Ecstasy. Hoffman was sent alone on a “buy and bust” and was given $13,000 to buy Ecstasy, cocaine and a gun. The men shot Hoffman five times, stole her car and credit card, and dumped her body into a ditch. This week Tallahassee approved a $2.6 million settlement with Rachel’s parents.
These two women should still be with us on this earth, but were instead pawns in the drug war that led to their violent deaths. There are so many sick aspects of the failed drug war, but law enforcement’s forcing people with a drug arrest to choose between draconian prison sentences or becoming an informant is one of the most nauseating.
There are more than 1.6 million drug arrests in the U.S. every year – the vast majority for mere possession. So many deaths and so many people are behind bars because police use people who get caught with small amounts of drugs to set up family, friends and strangers.