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Father critical of using 14-year-old son in drug sting

April 17, 2013 - By Dan Shriner

Review Editor

The father of a 14-year-old Lake Orion teenager who police used to help bust an alleged drug dealer is angry and believes his son was put in peril by law enforcement.

The man, whose name is being withheld by The Review in order to protect the identity of his son, said he believes his son could be targeted for retribution by the alleged drug dealer or one of his friends.

The alleged dealer, Edward M. Watkins, 35, is in custody on charges he sold marijuana to the boy as part of a drug sting conducted by Lake Orion police.

Watkins also is in custody for parole violation and for outstanding warrants. He has numerous felony convictions, including for felonious assault with a weapon.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Watkins has used 10 aliases and has at least seven felony convictions going back to 2002 as an adult and numerous additional convictions as a minor.

"They put my son in danger," the father said. "I can't believe they could have thought this was a good idea. There are other ways to catch a drug dealer than using a 14-year-old boy."

The drug bust occurred after the teen told his mother that Watkins allegedly offered to sell some marijuana to him. The mother then went to Lake Orion police to complain about the incident.

Lake Orion Police chief Jerry Narsh said police discussed how they could get proof in order to bust Watkins.

"We contemplated how to do this and so we set up a controlled buy. We determined this was the only way it could happen," Narsh said.

The boy was monitored by police during the drug buy, Narsh said.

The boy's parents are divorced and the father said he was furious when he heard about it and has contacted Child Protective Services to complain and has charged that it was child endangerment.

"They put my son's life in danger," the father said. "I was never contacted. I would have refused such a thing."

The father said that Watkins and his friends now know that his son was the one who made the drug buy and said he fears for his son's safety.

"They have no respect for the law and could hurt or kill my son.

"What if he is released from jail on some technicality?" the father asked. "My son's life has been put in jeopardy because this police chief is playing a political game. He named my son publicly."

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