The family of a North Dakota college student who wound up murdered while working as a “confidential informant” has lost a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the sheriff’s department that persuaded him to go undercover.
As The Daily Beast reported, 20-year-old Andrew Sadek was caught selling $80 worth of marijuana to a narc at his school, the North Dakota State College of Science, where he was studying to become an electrician in November 2013.
Richland County sheriff’s deputy Jason Weber—a defendant in the Sadeks’ complaint—warned the student he was facing decades behind bars and a $40,000 fine, and asked Sadek to conduct drug buys for him to avoid charges.
Sadek turned up dead six months later in the Red River, his body strapped to a backpack full of rocks. He was found with a bullet in his head, and authorities allegedly tried to tell his parents, Tammy and John Sadek, that he’d committed suicide.
In 2016, the Sadeks sued Richland County and Deputy Weber, claiming the officer coerced their son into becoming a drug informant. The case was scheduled for trial in July.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported North Dakota judge Jay Schmitz dismissed the lawsuit, saying there was no evidence that Weber directly caused Sadek’s death or that the county was negligent in assessing the dangers of being an informant.
Interrogation-room video showed Sadek swearing not to tell a soul about his new confidential informant role, which involved him seeking out dealers on his own. Sadek never consulted with an attorney or spoke to his parents about the operation.
Tim O’Keeffe, an attorney for the Sadeks, previously told The Daily Beast that Sadek, a student with no criminal history, likely wouldn’t have gone to prison over a small amount of pot.
“We’re talking about college students and marijuana, which is probably an age-old topic of controversy and debate,” O’Keeffe told The Daily Beast in 2016. “I have a hard time believing that these are the hardened criminals [police] should be spending their time and money investigating.”
In a Facebook post this week, Sadek’s family said they plan to appeal.