(Ken Silva, Headline USA) A DHS informant previously convicted of child sex crimes is playing a key role in an ongoing hitman-for-hire case, according to an investigation published by Forbes on Wednesday.
The U.S. government’s case is against Los Angeles hairdresser Julia Coda, who is accused of offering to pay thousands of dollars on the dark web to have a Louisiana man killed.
The FBI purportedly discovered Coda’s plan by an anonymous informant, who passed along records that had been hacked from the dark web hitman-for-hire site. The FBI’s informant obtained the hacked hitman-for-hire records from another informant, this one who works for the DHS.
According to Forbes, the DHS informant has his own dark past.
Citing a search warrant in the case, Forbes reported that the informant, who has worked for DHS since at least 2018, was previously convicted of crimes related to child sex abuse material in a foreign country.
“No further details of their crimes or past work with the DHS were provided in the warrant, but questions remain over whether the government should have relied on a source with a prior conviction and who had just allegedly committed another illegal act: hacking into a website without authorization,” wrote Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster.
The search warrant reportedly noted that the DHS didn’t pay the source, but instead had a “proffer agreement,” which typically sees the government offer promises about how or if they will prosecute an informant.
Brewster also noted that even the FBI had reservations about working with the DHS informant.
“The FBI wrote that ‘in 2018 the FBI considered working with the [DHS] source as a confidential human source, but chose not to due to concerns about controlling the [DHS] source’s activities,’” Brewster said, citing the search warrant that he obtained.
The FBI is apparently trying to distance itself from the DHS’s pedophile informant. The bureau’s warrant reportedly classified the hacker as a “sub-source” whose information came to the FBI via a separate anonymous informant.
“That distance from the hacker indicates that the government didn’t encourage any unlawful hacking and likely saved the agency from any violation of the fourth amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches,” Brewster wrote.
The DOJ reportedly declined to comment, while the DHS didn’t respond to a Forbes request for comment.
Coda’s trial is set for Nov. 14.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.