College student found dead worked as confidential informant

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Wahpeton college student who was found shot to death in a river last year had been a confidential informant for a regional drug task force, a new report shows.

The report released this week also concluded that the Southeast Multi-County Agency Drug Task Force properly handled its dealings with Andrew Sadek, a 20-year-old state College of Science student. The report followed a review by the North Dakota and South Dakota state crime bureaus and a Cass County sheriff's detective.

Sadek, of Rogers, went missing in early May 2014. His body was found in late June in the Red River north of Breckenridge, Minnesota, which borders Wahpeton. An autopsy concluded he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Sadek's mother said she believes her son was pressured into working for the drug task force, and was murdered for being an informant.

"We may never know," Tammy Sadek said Friday.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and campus police are investigating his death, but campus spokeswoman Barbara Spaeth-Baum said "frankly, until more information comes forward, there is little else that can be done."

Sadek got into trouble with the law in April 2013 when he twice sold marijuana to a confidential informant, according to the report. Both transactions were small — one for $20 and one for $60 worth of drugs — but they took place in a school zone, making the potential charges against him serious felonies.

In November 2013, drug task force agents searched Sadek's dorm room and said they found a grinder containing marijuana residue. The next day, the report says, Sadek completed paperwork to become a confidential informant. In November and December 2013 and January 2014 he bought drugs three times for the task force, which comprises agents from four county sheriff's offices, three city police departments, county commissioners, and city officials from Wahpeton.

The task force didn't hear from Sadek after that, and he was last seen leaving a campus dormitory early morning on May 1. Authorities searched by ground and air, and dozens of people combed the Red River and other parts of Wahpeton.

According to the report, Sadek had not yet made enough undercover buys to erase the possible charges against him. A magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Sadek — on request from the Richland County Sheriff's Office — about a week after he disappeared.

"The Review Board did not have any concerns with the case files where Sadek was a CI (confidential informant) and conducted controlled buys," the report said.

Tammy Sadek said she is not surprised the report concluded the task force did nothing wrong.

"They're not going to turn on each other," she said.

Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson, a member of the drug task force, said he hopes the report ends speculation about impropriety.

"I don't think we're ever going to satisfy the mother in this case," he said. "She's had to go through a difficult ordeal."

The report makes some recommendations, including appointing a task force supervisor and assigning a state Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent to Wahpeton. Thorsteinson said the task force voted this week to adopt the recommendations.


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