Cop Recruited Drug Court Participants To Work As Informants, Says Lawsuit

By Victoria Kim 08/26/16

Lt. Jason Grellner reportedly coerced drug court participants to become police informants, which led them to relapse and fail the program.

Cop Recruited Drug Court Participants To Work As Informants, Says Lawsuit

A Missouri police officer is being sued in federal court for allegedly coercing drug court participants to serve as undercover informants—ultimately setting them up to fail the program that was intended to turn their lives around.

The lawsuit was filed on August 1 in U.S. District Court in St. Louis by the owners of the Meramec Recovery Center, which previously served as the primary service provider for the Franklin County drug court.

Kenneth Allen and Jan Allen claim that Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Grellner routinely recruited drug court participants to serve as informants—and if they did not appeal to his demands, Grellner would allegedly threaten to have them kicked out of the program.

The lawsuit says that Kenneth Allen confronted Grellner when he noticed participants were failing drug tests and missing counseling appointments and drug court dates. The Allens claim that Grellner responded by doubling down on efforts to recruit informants from the drug court, and began a campaign to tarnish the reputation of Meramec. The county eventually cut ties with Meramec in 2013 after 13 years of service, when the facility was notified that its contract with Franklin County had been terminated. 

The Allens say all this was part of a larger scheme by Grellner to get elected as Franklin County Sheriff—using informants would allow Grellner, who is described as a high-profile drug warrior, to show off his record of busting drug crimes to voters. However, Grellner ultimately failed to become sheriff. 

Some drug courts explicitly do not allow participants to be asked to serve as informants, but Missouri does not have such a rule in place, according to the Huffington Post.

According to the lawsuit, Grellner’s actions also jeopardized the drug court participants’ success in the program. The Allens saw a “significant decrease” in success among participants because they were asked to “associate with other drug users/distributors, which led them to revert to the habits which led to their arrests and placement in Drug Court in the first instance.”

The Allens say Grellner continues this practice to this day, but Grellner recently told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that their accusations are “100% incorrect,” and that they are only out to tarnish his political reputation.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr