Cases dropped after Lowell police informants are accused of planting drug evidence
Prosecutors have dropped 17 pending cases and vacated two convictions that were linked to a pair of Lowell police informants who were accused of planting drug evidence and lying about suspects, officials said Friday.
In a statement, the Middlesex and Essex district attorneys said the allegation surfaced against the informants in November 2012, prompting Lowell police to cease working with them. The statement did not identify the informants or say who made the accusation.
Middlesex prosecutors asked the Essex office to conduct a review of the Lowell Police Department’s use of confidential informants to avoid the appearance of conflict, according to the statement.
Investigators did not uncover sufficient “admissible evidence” to charge either informant with misconduct, but Middlesex prosecutors decided as a cautionary move to dismiss any pending cases in superior court or district court that the pair played a role in, the statement said.
Prosecutors also decided to vacate any convictions linked to them.
“The detectives who were assigned to the Special Investigation Section of the Lowell Police Department did not engage in any criminal wrongdoing or negligence in the performance of their police duties, including the manner in which they obtained intelligence information from the informants,” the statement said. “And there is no evidence that the detectives who were in contact with the informants knew or should have known of their misconduct.”
The district attorneys said Lowell police have policies to track the accuracy of information that confidential informants provide and to review their performance and credibility on an ongoing basis.
“This investigation is now closed and we refer the matter back to the Lowell Police Department,” the statement said.
Lowell police said late Friday night that no one was available to discuss the matter.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.