ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man accused of gunning down another man in Albuquerque's South Valley last year was an active U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informer who was improperly supervised, a new lawsuit alleges.
The family of Jason Estrada recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the agency, the second suit in recent months alleging problems with the DEA's handling of informants, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/djxdSq).
Edward Quintana, 31, has been charged with killing Estrada. He also is charged with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13.
He has pleaded not guilty in both cases and is being held on a $600,000 bond.
Albuquerque police said Estrada was killed when he confronted Quintana over the sexual assaults of a child.
The lawsuit claims Quintana previously was debriefed by agents and became a "confidential source" despite his criminal background.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque said the office had no comment on the lawsuit.
The day after Estrada was killed, DEA agents "deactivated" Quintana as an informant, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit and attached documents show Quintana became an informant for the agency in 2011 after Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant on his home and seized nine ounces of heroin, $12,000 and three loaded semi-automatic handguns.
Another lawsuit filed last month said DEA agents paid a struggling addict in crack cocaine during an undercover investigation into a Las Vegas, New Mexico, drug operation.
Erlinda Ocampo Johnson, attorney for Aaron Romero, said the 38-year-old was unknowingly targeted during an undercover investigation because he was a struggling addict and did not know he was helping agents break up the drug ring.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com