Crystal River is a small, sleepy town on Florida's Nature Coast, known to tourists as one of the best places to swim with manatees. It's also the site of a series of sting operations in which 18 people were arrested for drug distribution in 2012. Helping the operation was a 27-year-old mother of two named Jaime Seeger, who was a confidential informant essential in providing law enforcement with access to criminal networks.
Six months after the drug bust, Jaime was gunned down in the middle on the night.
Jaime's mother, Wendy Moore, was with her the night she died and spoke with Lisa Ling for "Our America" about the dangerous work as of untrained, civilian confidential informants. Wendy tells Ling that Jaime had become addicted to the prescription painkillers she was taking for a severe back injury she sustained in a serious car accident in 2006. Then, Jaime made the switch to smoking crack and got swept up in the Crystal River drug culture.
Before too long, Jaime began working for the local sheriff's department as a C.I., making several controlled drug buys a week and recording the deals for the police with a hidden camera. Wendy isn't sure exactly why Jaime, a former corrections officer, began working with law enforcement, but expressed concern for her daughter's safety, especially as rumors on the street spread as to Jamie's identity and she began receiving death threats.
On July 25, 2012, Wendy's worst fears were realized.
Jaime had spent the day desperately calling around to buy crack-cocaine to feed her addiction. That night, she finally found some and asked Wendy to ride along with her.
"We were supposed to be going to a gas station," Wendy tells Ling in the above video. "So I said I'll go in an get a pop, so it wasn't like I was going to be there when she did the buy."
On their way to the gas station, the dealer called to change the meeting location. "He said, 'I'll be walking down Crede and you can pick me up,'" Wendy recalls. "He said, 'Don't bring your mom.'"
Jaime dropped Wendy off at the gas station. After 20 minutes, Jamie still hasn't returned and wasn't answering her cell phone. Then, Wendy saw two unmarked police cars and an ambulance drive by.
"I'm like, 'Wow, there must be something big going on down that street,'" Wendy says.
She decided to walk over to the commotion, where she noticed the name of the street: Crede, the same street Jaime was told to drive down.
"I start running up that road," Wendy says.
She was stopped by a sheriff's deputy, who said that there had been a shooting. "As soon as he said that, my ears started going numb. And he says, 'It's my duty to inform you that your daughter is deceased,'" Wendy says. "I just put my head in my hands."
Jaime isn't the only confidential informant whose story Ling explored. She also met with a college student named Alex, who went to the extreme to keep his cover, as well as two Argentinian immigrants living in upstate New York, who were also lured into the dangerous world.