Report: Jailhouse snitchin’ pays really well

Perhaps your high school guidance counselor suggested some high paying jobs back in the day such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or overpaid city manager? A new report suggests that they may have left one out: jailhouse snitch.

The Press Enterprise has a report of two such snitches, “Puppet” and “Bouncer,” who were not given the “stitches” that pop culture would have you believe, rather they were paid $335,000 over a four-year window in Southern California for their work on dozens of cases.

In addition to the cash, Mexican Mafia members Raymond “Puppet” Cuevas and Jose “Bouncer” Paredes also reveived cigarettes, Xboxes, Del Taco, and cable tv in their cells.

Then there is the money:

Court ledgers obtained by the Orange County Register show that between 2011 and 2015 police in Orange County paid $14,200 to the men, Riverside County paid $6,000 and law enforcement in San Bernardino County paid $3,750. The rest of the informant pay came from police agencies in Long Beach and Los Angeles County.

>Police typically sent the men into jails to befriend suspects, usually other members of the Mexican Mafia, who hadn’t yet obtained legal representation. Cuevas and Paredes, in cells wired with recording devices, offered to help the suspects dodge a death penalty from the Mexican Mafia, but only if they confessed a complete history of their alleged crimes.

Now politicians are attempting to pass Assembly Bill 359, which would cap payments to informants at $100 per case.

Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, a New York-based public policy group dedicated to exonerating innocent people, told the OC Register back in 2014 there are all kinds of issues that stem from these types of payments.

“The whole idea that you have a system of snitches and secret tape recordings that they could decide to turn over or not turn over is reprehensible,” Scheck said. “It’s really quite terrifying.”

So, yeah, maybe stick to getting that law degree instead, kids.