SACRAMENTO - Garbage collectors for the city of Sacramento collected evidence last year for the DEA, according to court documents filed in a Sacramento drug trafficking case.
The information was revealed in a search-warrant application filed by a DEA agent working a case against suspected crack cocaine trafficker Omar Williams.
According to court documents, the DEA has been dealing with Williams since 2005 when they arrested him on weapons and drug charges.
Williams, 40, already had a long rap sheet by 2005, including convictions for attempted murder, assault on a police officer with a firearm, kidnapping, carjacking and drug trafficking. He is also a validated Meadowview Bloods gang member.
Despite being sentenced to over 10 years in prison on drugs and weapons charges in 2008, documents show Williams was released on probation in early 2013 because federal crack cocaine sentencing guidelines were changed.
Court records indicate the DEA agent who put Williams away in 2005 got wind of his release in mid-2013 when he was tipped off by a paid confidential informant, who said Williams was already back to selling crack cocaine.
According to the search warrant application, the agent discovered Williams was using two houses, one as his official residence and another in the 1400 block of 66th Avenue as a place to package and sell drugs.
In order to get a warrant at the suspected drug house, the DEA needed to establish probable cause, which is why they turned to the Sacramento garbage company.
On Nov. 5, a garbage collection day, the DEA agent arranged with the city garbage company to make a special pickup at Williams' suspected drug house on 66th Ave.
According to documents, the city sent an empty garbage truck to the house, putting the garbage in the back the truck. The garbage truck didn't make any more pickups, heading directly to the city corporation yard and the waiting DEA agent.
An employee supervisor handed over four knotted trash bags to the agent, who began searching the garbage for evidence.
The contents of Williams' garbage contained a cornucopia of drug related evidence, according to the investigating DEA agent, including:
- Cut-open rectangular plastic packages coated with cocaine residue
- Over 100 clear plastic sandwich bags coated with a powdery residue that tested positive for cocaine
- 20 pairs of used rubber gloves
- An empty cardboard box for a WeighMax digital scale
- Receipts bearing Williams' name
- A ledger with numbers consistent with the current prices for kilograms of cocaine
Just three days later, Williams was arrested by DEA agents and was indicted Nov. 21 by the US Attorney's Office on drug and weapons charges.
The city of Sacramento declined to comment on the story, but did say any waste put in a city garbage bin effectively becomes city property.
Sacramento criminal defense attorney and News10 legal analyst Bill Portanova concurred with the city's assessment, saying waste taken to the curb in a city garbage bin was considered abandoned, and there is no expectation of privacy for abandoned property.
Portanova said the tactic was just industrious police work and was perfectly legal.
"One man's garbage is a federal agent's treasure," he said.
Williams is currently in the Sacramento County Jail and is not currently eligible for bail.
Several calls for comment made to Williams' attorney were never returned.