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Alfredo Torres

Other Federal Exonerations with Mistaken Witness Identifications
On May 2, 2005, a confidential informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration and a narcotics task force in San Juan County, New Mexico set up a buy of methamphetamine by calling the mother of 20-year-old Alfredo Torres.

Torres’s mother said she would call “Freddy” to set up the deal. The informant met with the seller, completed the buy, and turned the drugs over to the DEA. The informant was wearing a wire during the transaction, and though the agents could not identify the seller’s voice, they saw him through the windshield of a moving car.

In August 2006, Torres went to trial in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Both the informant (whom the prosecution claimed had been a credible informant in the past, and had stopped using drugs) and the agents testified against Torres.

On August 10, 2006, a jury convicted Torres of the distribution of more than five grams of methamphetamine, and he was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

After trial, defense attorneys discovered that the prosecution failed to disclose to the defense that the informant had misidentified Torres twice after the buy, that she had worked for the DEA before and broken her agreement with them, and that she had continued drug related criminal activity while working as an informant.

In June 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned Torres’s conviction because the prosecution withheld this evidence and granted him a new trial. In August 2009, Torrest was released on bond. On October 19, 2009, the prosecution dismissed the charges.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2005
Sentence:5 years and 10 months
Age at the date of reported crime:20
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No