A double-dealing FBI informant testifying at a police corruption trial Tuesday told of how he set up a six-figure cocaine deal behind the Feds’ back, only to see the coke stolen.
Rodney Lord told the jury the bust was orchestrated by one of the buyers, who turned out to be a nephew of Linwood Norman, one of the cops on trial.
Lord was testifying in the trial of six members of a Philadelphia Police Department Narcotics Unit who are accused of ripping off drug dealers. He had worked as an informant for four years when in 2009 his neighbor at a New Jersey Apartment complex asked Lord if he could find people willing to buy cocaine.
Lord didn’t tell the FBI about the offer. Instead he made some calls to his old neighborhood in West Philadelphia, where he found two men willing to buy. One deal went smoothly — a kilo was sold for $32,000.
A second deal left him scared for his life.
Lord said he was waiting in an Upper Darby parking lot with drug courier Orlando Ramirez when he got a call.
Lord said Reuben Tidwell, one of the buyers, was the caller. Tidwell told Lord to get out of the car and walk to the corner. When he did, Tidwell was there, telling him to run.
Lord said he looked back to see Ramirez swept up in what was either a police bust or a robbery; he couldn’t tell at the time.
“I said “What the eff did you just do?’” Lord asked Tidwell. The suppliers knew where he lived, and they knew where his mother lived.
Tidwell, Lord testified, said that one of the cops was his uncle, and that they were going to charge Ramirez for one kilo and give them the rest.
Lord said Tidwell paid him $2,500 for arranging the deal.
Ramirez, the courier, testified Tuesday that he was sentenced to 1½ to 3 years in prison. He figured out that someone had stolen the cocaine when he was in court and saw that he was only being charged for having one kilogram. He didn’t tell anyone in law enforcement that he had more cocaine until FBI agents investigating police corruption knocked on his door.
“I was thinking ‘what happened to the other three?’” Ramirez said. “I couldn’t think of any pros (upside) of admitting that I had more on me than what they thought I had.”