Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cop: Snitches keep escort services in business

Roaming a bit outside Texas today to indulge the interest I've developed in police snitches, since most examples Grits has looked at involved drug cases. Even seamier relations, it seems, crop up in the sex trade.

Confidential informant relationships with police officers "are what keep escort services in business," according to rogue Seattle sheriff's deputy Dan Ring. That's logical, but when you think about it, kind of gross. It gives officers all sorts of leverage that could
easily be abused to extort sex. Plus in the end, the practice actually promotes crime. Ring would inform the hookers when they were about to be raided, and gave them advice on how to avoid detection or arrest. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
The PI interviewed ... [the] operator of Executive Privileges and Roxanne's Adult Entertainment, who said, "He would do what I asked him to do." She added that it was a two-way street. She once gave him information on a cop suspected of raping one of her girls.

"He made me his bitch. If a cop calls me and says, 'You're going to do this and do that,' what choice do you have in this business?" she asked. "I heard him loud and clear."

Wallace added, "He'd let me know when there was a sting coming up, stuff like that. Whatever legal stuff we could circumvent."

She said Ring would call and tell her to "go on vacation," their code for an upcoming sting. Ring warned her, she said, against hiring two escorts who had turned informants after a bust known as Garden of Eden. She said he told her "not to touch 'em," that they were a "train wreck." ...

She said Ring gave her advice aimed at keeping her out of jail and in business. She said he told her: Don't advertise that women will travel out of state for appointments, because that's a federal crime. Don't use credit cards, which create a paper trail, and don't use the word "escorts" in advertising because under state law that is synonymous with prostitute.

She said it was helpful when he checked the backgrounds of customers and potential employees, like the time he warned her away from a woman known to use drugs.
That's pretty typical of how confidential informant relationships go bad. In theory, the informant is providing information for the government's benefit. But too often, cops wind up essentially in the service of the crooks they're investigating, actually promoting criminality instead of thwarting it. In this officer's case, while providing plenty of tips and business advice to madams and titty-bar owners, he'd not made a single case from his sex-industry investigations in at least five years!

Criminal charges against 26-year veteran have been dropped and Ring retired recently on a $3,500 per month pension.

No comments: