- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Colombian man who said he helped federal agents in the mid-2000s arrest and convict the then-leader of the nation’s most powerful drug cartel — Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, a.k.a. “Don Diego” — says the FBI has reneged on its promise to pay the $5 million reward.

“I risked my life giving them information, and the government has been jerking me around about the reward,” said the informant known as Tito, in The U.K. Guardian, about his work years ago to bring Montoya to justice.

Montoya is now serving 45 years in a Florida prison. Now 6½ years later, Tito says the Federal Bureau of Investigations has yet to pay the promised bounty.

“Once they have what they want,” he said, of the agents, The Guardian reported, “we snitches become dispensable.”

Tito said he put his life in great danger to help bring Montoya to justice. He served as the drug kingpin’s right-hand man at a time when the FBI listed him as second only to Osama bin Laden on America’s most wanted list, The Guardian reported.

After the FBI heat bore down, and news spread of a $5 million federal bounty, Tito said Montoya started killing off all those in his drug trade he suspected of turning redcoat.

“He started having people who knew things killed off,” Tito said, in The Guardian report. “And if anyone knew things about [Montoya], it was me.”

So Tito made a strategic decision and decided to turn in Montoya — before Montoya killed him. In the mid-2000s, Tito turned to the FBI and helped in Motoya’s arrest and prosecution. But he’s not seen a dime of reward money, he said.

Leaving informants out in the cold compromises the integrity of the reward program — and, ultimately, the ability of the FBI to catch some of the world’s most dangerous, one law professor said.

“At some point, these promises stop working if the government is no longer perceived as reliable by people who might give information,” said Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at Loyola Law School, in The Guardian.