Parents Of Student 'Bullied' Into Becoming Informant File Wrongful Death Suit

By McCarton Ackerman 06/29/16

Andrew Sadek's parents are suing Richland County and a sheriff's deputy for deceit/fraud and failing to "reasonably supervise" the 20-year-old student in undercover drug operations. 

Parents Of Student 'Bullied' Into Becoming Informant File Wrongful Death Suit
Andrew Dadek and his mother Tammy Sadek Photo ReasonTV/YouTube

The family of a deceased college student has filed a lawsuit against a North Dakota county and sheriff’s deputy, claiming that proper safety measures weren’t taken while he served as a confidential informant for a drug task force.

Andrew Sadek was found dead in June 2014 in the Red River, which separates Minnesota from North Dakota. He was just 20 years old. Fox News reported that an autopsy on Sadek’s body showed that he died from a gunshot wound to the head, but his manner of death was “undetermined.”

Sadek’s family is now suing Richland County and Richland County Sheriff’s deputy Jason Weber, who was part of the drug task force, claiming that they failed to “reasonably supervise” Sadek or train him in undercover operations. The family is seeking unspecified economic damages, including the cost of the memorial, and non-economic damages related to emotional distress and mental anguish, according to Fox News.

The lawsuit insists that Sadek’s death was not a suicide. The 20-year-old was found with backpack full of rocks tied around his body. “There was no suicidal tendencies. There was no note. There was no depression. And his grades were excellent,” said his mother, Tammy Sadek, in a 2014 radio interview with KFGO. “Who shoots themselves in the head and fills their backpack with rocks, ties it to themselves and ends up in the river? It’s just too much.” 

The family noted that they sent a letter to federal authorities in April to request that the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice review the case, but the FBI never responded. The Department of Justice claims it is reviewing the case.

After he was caught selling $20-60 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant on two occasions in April 2013, Sadek was given one of two options by police: become a confidential informant or face decades of jail time. The relatively small transactions could have resulted in felony charges that led to a 20-year jail sentence because they took place in school zones, so Sadek chose to become an informant.

“He was bullied, I can’t think of another word, other than bullied, into becoming a CI (confidential informant),” Tammy Sadek told the Wahpeton Daily News.

The following year, Sadek completed the paperwork to become a confidential informant just one day after drug task force agents searched his college dorm room and found a grinder containing marijuana residue. High Times reported that Sadek went on to make three drug buys for the regional task force between November 2013 and January 2014, buying an eighth of weed from two different individuals.

The state had previously investigated the police handling of the case at his mother’s request, but concluded in January 2015 that there were no egregious errors. However, the county’s task force did recommend implementing minor changes in their procedures afterwards, according to High Times.

This Reason TV video chronicles the events that led up to the death of Andrew Sadek:

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.