CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 12, 2010 |
Ernesto Gamboa was a rare find -- the sort of informant who might come along once or twice in a cop's career. The 41-year-old Salvadoran auto mechanic assisted police in making hundreds of drug busts in the Pacific Northwest over 14 years. Armed only with a cellphone, he had a knack for posing as a drug buyer or seller, leading to harrowing transactions between heavily armed traffickers and narcotics agents. For about $10,000 a year, he risked his life time and again, according to those who worked with him. Undercover detectives came to trust him with their own lives.