Woman Sues DEA For Creating Fake Facebook Page With Her Pictures To Run Drug Stings

An upstate New York woman is suing a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent for using her name, photos, and identity to create a face Facebook profile to lure drug dealers, ABC News is reporting.

Sondra Arquiett of Albany, New York, was charged in 2010 with a variety of charges stemming from her involvement with a cocaine-trafficking ring in the area; she would later plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, and was sentenced to six months of weekend incarceration and six months of home detention.

During her trial, her lawyer alleged that DEA agent Timothy Sinnigan created the fake Facebook account — which included photos she called “suggestive,” as well as photos of her niece and her young son. One post even stated that missed her boyfriend, which the fake Facebook profile identified by his nickname, according to ABC News.

According to MSN, the DEA set up the fake Facebook account in order to keep contact with other people involved in the alleged drug ring. During Arquiette’s criminal trial, the Justice Department defended the DEA’s practice of creating fake Facebook profiles; since then, however, Justice Department spokesperson Brian Fallon has said that the practice is under review.

In her lawsuit, Arquiette alleged that the fake Facebook profile caused her “fear and great emotional distress,” as well as put her in danger because it created the appearance that she was cooperating with the authorities.

However, the DEA alleges that Ms. Arquiette is doing just that — cooperating with the authorities — and that she gave “implicit consent” to the fake Facebook profile when she agreed to allow the DEA to use to photos on her cell phone, as part of her plea agreement.

Facebook has since taken down the fake account, and issued a statement in response.

“We removed the profile because it violates our community standards.”

Facebook’s Community Standards page addresses the issue of fake profiles and makes it clear that fake profiles are not allowed (although the social media giant does allow persons who perform under stage names — such as drag queens — to maintain profiles in the names of their characters, according to this Inquisitr report).

“Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.”

Do you believe the DEA was justified in using the photos of a convicted drug dealer to create a fake Facebook profile to catch other drug dealers? Let us know what you think below in the comments.

[Image courtesy of: ABC News]

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