Monday, April 4, 2016

Social Media WIN! Dumb Criminal FAIL! TX Woman is Arrested after responding to a Police Facebook Sting Op about Meth being Tainted with Ebola ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Make no mistake about it: POLICE ABSOLUTELY DO CONDUCT STING OPERATIONS ON THE INTERNET (in fact you can Watch HaberPA's YouTube Webisode on "Do Police conduct Sting Operations on the Internet?" by clicking below...)!

On March 22nd, 2016 the Granite Shoals, TX Police Department's used social media to put out a fake alert on it' s Facebook page stating:  "Breaking News:  Area Meth and Heroin Supply Possibly Contaminated With Ebola" 

The post (which is pictured above and has been dubbed by some as a "Facebook Post Challenge",  or, if you ask the defense bar, a "Police Internet Sing Op") actually led to a woman's arrest after she showed up at the Granite Shoals Police Department to have her potentially contaminated contraband / meth screened with a "special device".  

Two days after the initial Facebook post, on Thursday, March 24th, 2016, 29 year old Chastity Eugina Hopson (pictured below) responded to the PD's warning that:  "If you have recently purchased meth or heroin in Central Texas, please take it to the local police or sheriff department so it can be screened with a special device.  DO NOT use it until it has been properly checked for possible Ebola contamination!"  When she showed up at the Granite Shoals Police Department with less than one gram of meth she was arrested and charged.

But the PD took heat when it went a step further and posted Chastity's mug shot on it's webpage, referring to her as the "winner" of their "Facebook post challenge".

Falling short of attacking the Sting Op itself, critics have claimed that the PD's act sharing the woman's name and picture and effectively poking fun at her addiction was, well, uncool.  One critic reportedly commented on the PD's "winner" pic stating that:  "You humiliated and shamed her and treated her like a criminal instead of like someone who has a disease.  I work I with addicts and one of the reasons they don't seek out help is the fear of judgement and because they feel ashamed.  You could have offered this woman treatment/help and instead you plastered her face all over Facebook reinforcing the beliefs of addicts that they are worthless and undeserving of help."  And, as the criticism began to pile up, the PD ultimately wrote in a post that it wanted to show "all parts of the enforcement world on Facebook, and that includes our sense of humor", but then, as of Monday, March 28th, 2016 both the original Ebola meth post as well as the "winner" post had been removed, and in their place was a picture of a cat, driving a car, with a caption that read: "'And now here is a picture of a cat." 

Naturally the ACLU chimed in... Matt Simpson, a senior policy strategist at the Texas ACLU questioned what a department like Granite Shoals would do in the event of a real contaminated drug crisis, stating:  "'Are they going to run another Facebook ad that looks like this, only it's designed to help people instead of ensnare people foolish enough to follow up?"

But, point-counterpoint, and Clint McNear, a law enforcement consultant and retired police officer, compared the "'Ebola meth post" to a tactic he once used when he would call a person with an outstanding warrant to say that someone had turned in a wallet full of cash with that person's name on it.  Per Clint:  "Clever ideas to catch criminals (are) not new, and as the criminal evolves, law enforcement evolves with them."  

Enter Tom Smith, Texas director of the advocacy group "Public Citizen", who called tactics like the Ebola post "pure deception", stating that:  "At a time when we're having a crisis with growing heroin addiction it's outrageous that we would set traps for people instead of coming up with strategies to get them into treatment."

Memo to the ACLU, "Public Citizen" and the Folks:  It's called an "Internet Police Sting Op" and it is only entrapment if the arrestee was not predisposed to commit the crime independent of the police deceit and trickery.  “Sting Op” is a law enforcement term that cops use when they embrace any of a variety of deceptive tactics to catch people who are predisposed to  committing crimes.  Sometimes the cops do it themselves “undercover” and other times they employ CI’s (confidential informants) or CS’s (cooperating sources).  There are many sorts of sting ops.  Some examples are: - Posing as someone who is seeking illegal drugs, contraband or child pornography to catch a supplier; or posing as a supplier to catch a customer (where the cops are the suppliers it is called a “reverse sting”) - Posing as a potential customer of illegal prostitution; or posing as a prostitute to catch a customer (again a “reverse stiong”) - Posing as a child in a chat room to identify a potential child molester - Posing as a hit man to catch customers and solicitors of murder-for-hire - Passing off explosives, fake or real, to a would-be terror bomber - Deploying a bait car (or a “honey trap”) to catch car thieves - Arranging someone under the legal drinking age to ask an adult to buy an alcoholic beverage or tobacco products for them... 

Memo to the ACLU, "Public Citizen" and the Folks continued:  Most folks caught in a sting think they were entrapped but very few actually were.   The fact is that cops are permitted to  use methods of persuasion, trickery or subterfuge in an effort to get you to commit a crime.  The question that determines whether or not you were entrapped is: Would you have done what you did if a civilian had been involved instead of the cops?  Further, some cops never leave the police station, instead their job is to literally sit at a work station and troll the internet looking for folks who go to, look in, download from or upload to targeted (and usually, but not always "deviant") sites.  The bottom line is that you must always be careful about engaging in any sort of criminal activity on the internet.  And, taking it a step further (even though it’s not technically a sting op), count on the fact that prosecutors will scour the internet looking for any incriminating information which they can use against you in any pending criminal case.  Forewarned is forearmed.

When it comes to the subject of "Cops, Courts and Constitutions" you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests.  While we can't stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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