A few weeks ago one of my favorite radio programs, This American Life, shared the story of a Florida teen who unwittingly got caught in a drug sting. The teen, 18-year-old honor student Justin Laboy, explained that he went from the honor roll to a jail cell, all because he fell for a girl who turned out to be a cop.
Last year principals in Palm Beach County were fed up with some of their students using and selling/sharing drugs. To combat this problem, several schools allowed police officers to pose as students and try to suss out where the drugs were coming from. According to Laboy, he wasn’t a drug dealer or user, but ended up getting busted because he fell in love with a girl who asked him to get her some weed. Trying to help out his friend, Laboy complied and gave her a $25 bag of weed. Unfortunately for him, his crush turned out to be a 25-year-old undercover cop, and Laboy ended up with a felony record.
This incident has nearly ruined Laboy’s life. Although he was an honor student and planned to go to the military after graduation, he can no longer join because of the drug conviction. Moreover, if he does decide to go onto college, he may not be eligible for financial aid because of his crime.
Laboy isn’t the only one who has gotten caught up by a seemingly sympathetic cop. According to the Huffington Post, a 19-year-old student in New York was caught buying a stolen iPhone after the undercover officer told him that he was trying to sell the phone to feed his daughter for Christmas.
While law enforcement officials touts theses types of programs as good police work, others see them as entrapment because they are making tiny dints in a much larger problem and often punish those who have no real power.
But what do you think? Are these cases good police work or entrapment? Sound off!