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Based on the reliance of conspiracy statutes to connect leaders of organized crime with activities carried out by their subordinates, the use of confidential informants is often critical to the investigation and prosecution of organized criminal activities; however, the relationship between informants and law enforcement can become quite complicated. Whitey Bulger, the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, was actually a confidential informant for the FBI. FBI agent John Connolly was convicted of second degree murder and racketeering due to his relationship with Bulger.
Using the Bulger case as an example, discuss as a team the pros and cons of the use of confidential informants in the investigation and prosecution of organized crime.
Address the following in your discussion:
- the motivations of the informant
- the need to protect the informant
- the need to control the informant
- any other benefits or problems connected with the use of confidential informants