Police Credit Google Street View For Helping Catch Drug Ring

from the you're-on-google-camera dept

Following on our recent story of police using Google Street View to give them a lead in a stolen car incident, comes another report, sent in by Joshy, of a heroin dealing ring in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who was dealing on the streets out in the open -- and also were caught on Google Street View images:
It's a little unclear from the article just how useful the Google Street View image was to the case, but it certainly seems like it could be useful as corroborating evidence...
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Filed Under: drug ring, street view
Companies: google

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 18 Nov 2010 @ 2:03am

    Google Only Got in the Picture Because the Investigation Took So Long

    Well, if you read the article, the police went out and bought drugs; they became steady customers so as to accumulate cases against all the members of the gang; they used video to backstop their own testimonies and make a bulletproof case; and they did a certain amount of other trading in the neighborhood to maintain their covers (they also ran a case against the local stores for selling untaxed cigarettes, illegally imported from some other state); and this went on long enough that the Google van eventually came through.

    One can imagine how it works: Strange customer comes into the store, is offered cigarettes at the legal price, and asks, "aint you got nuttin cheaper?" They sell him some untaxed smokes from under the counter, and he doesn't pull a badge or anything like that, and he starts buying untaxed cigarettes regularly, and in due course, he expresses an interest in drugs, and gets an introduction to the dealers hanging out on the street-corner. The agent doesn't wear a wire recorder at the start, or have a tail with a video camera, anything which might make the dealers suspicious. That sort of thing gets introduced by small increments after they're hooked. The whole process took four months.

    Obviously, at some point, a drug dealer has to trust his customers, or he'd never sell any drugs. Equally obviously, if the cop on the beat felt actively antagonistic, he could drive the dealers away with a lot of general extralegal harassment, scaring their customers away, that kind of thing. At any rate, facing a lot of time, the dealers will presumably put the fingers on their suppliers, and any crooked cops who might be involved.

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