US lawmaker wants investigation after report on student informant's death

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A U.S. lawmaker says he wants an investigation into the use of young people as confidential informants, following this week's "60 Minutes" report that examined the death of North Dakota college student Andrew Sadek.

Sadek, 20 years old at the time, was found dead in the Red River in May of 2014 with a gunshot wound to the head. Since then, it’s been revealed that Sadek was busted for selling marijuana, about $80 worth, months before. With the threat of charges hanging over his head, he agreed to become a confidential informant for regional authorities.

On Sunday night, CBS’s “60 Minutes” examined the practice of authorities using young, low-level offenders as undercover informants – and how critics say they’re forced to maintain secrecy while being too naive to know the real dangers they’re in. (See the video lower in this post).

After seeing the report, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, took to the House floor and called on the Justice Department to investigate how law enforcement uses confidential informants.

Sadek "was murdered," Cohen said on the floor, "as a confidential informant without police protecting him."

He continued: "In the meantime, it's time for the Department of Justice to take a close look at how the behavior of confidential informants not only threatens to ruin young lives, but in some cases end their lives."

Cohen said he'll be working on legislation, and tied Sadek's death to the broader debate over marijuana, and whether it should be treated the same way criminally as harder drugs such as meth and heroin.

Here's the two-part "60 Minutes" report.

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No arrests have been made in Sadek’s death. A Facebook page called Justice for Andrew Sadek has about 5,000 supporters.

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