Scandal At UMass: Did The Campus Informant Program Take It Too Far?

In a tragic story, a student whom UMass campus police knew was involved with drugs recently overdosed.

Scandal At UMass: Did The Campus Informant Program Take It Too Far?

Sara Morin, Staff Reporter '17

In most family and friends’ eyes, 20 year old UMass student Eric Sinacori, was the model young adult: studying at a university with a scholarship, a happy relationship, and a star hockey player. They would have never guess he was struggling with a serious heroin addiction that would result in his death.

Although there was a former arrest in his early years involving the possession of cocaine, it was not taken into much consideration as it was thought to be a misunderstanding by parents. What his parents didn’t know was that was only the beginning of Sinacori’s problems.

He was a struggling heroine addict. In time, he tried to veer off of the drug which lasted only for about a month. On the night of his death, he texted his dealer wanting to repress the withdrawal symptoms. He waited impatiently as the supplier was stuck in traffic. Then when he finally dropped it off, Sinacori had overdosed resulting in his departure.

Around a year before his death, the young adult made a deal with an undercover cop for two buys of club Molly and LSD. The campus officers searched his room and seized a needle and $700 cash. When the police revealed the drug deal was a set-up, Sinacori was quick to do anything he could to hide it from his parents. The officers made an offer to use him as a informant to catch in order to keep his dealing a secret. Out of desperation, he was more than willing to make fake deals catching other dealers for the police. As soon as he was no longer needed, the cops returned the money taken and let Sinacori go free.

The lose of UMass student Eric Sinacori was a tragedy.
The lose of UMass student Eric Sinacori was a tragedy.

Considering the search of the dorm did not turn up any drugs, there was nothing the police could do. But about a year later on Friday, October 3, 2014, his parents and girlfriend started to get nervous as there was no response from the student. His girlfriend was on his way to his room as his parents finally convinced a maintenance employee to let them into his room to check on him. They didn’t expect to find their son’s unresponsive body laying in the bathroom near a needle.

The parents were furious with the information about Sinacori being searched and found with a needle kept from them. “If you find a needle on my kid, you have to assume it’s heroin. And if it’s heroin, you have to say something,” his mother said. “Because that’s the drug that kills everybody.”

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is now taking a look at their informant policy which is currently suspended. “No drug investigation is worth somebody’s life,” said UMass Police Chief Horvath.

The case is under investigation, but there has not been a lawsuit filed yet.