Suspect in deadly reverse sting was DEA informant

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PHOENIX - There is new information about a man charged in the deadly shooting of undercover Chandler Police Officer Carlos Ledesma in July 2010 in west Phoenix.

According to Maricopa County court documents, John Webber III claims he was working as a confidential undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration that night.

That defense has the Goldwater Institute asking questions. The Goldwater Institute is exploring how, or if, Chandler police notifies other law enforcement agencies prior to conducting reverse stings.

Reverse stings are set up so that police bring the drugs and suspects bring the money.

Under Arizona’s forfeiture law, police departments are allowed to keep money seized during such stings. The raid last summer was expected to bring in $250,000.

The Institute for Justice questions the motive of reverse stings. Attorney Paul Avelar says, "It creates an incentive to keep the money for themselves. If you call in other agencies, if you cast a broader net, it may be forced to share whatever you seize with these other agencies.

According to Chandler police, they did notify other agencies prior to the raid on the west Phoenix home.

According to Maricopa County court documents, Phoenix police checked with the DEA and were informed Webber was not currently working for them though he had worked for them in the past.

Chandler police contend Webber’s history with the DEA did not come up when they checked the database. The DEA has declined to comment.