Today, the frustration of Tammy Sadek was pointed in the direction of SEMCA, the Southeast Multi-County Agency Narcotics Task Force. Sadek said the agency forced her son into helping them catch whoever supplied him with marijuana.
SEMCA is just one of several drug task forces operating throughout the region. Drug investigations used to be handled by state and federal agencies before they cut back their resources.
“When regional task forces came into being, we started having a lot more success gaining a foothold against dangerous drugs,” explained Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson.
SEMCA investigators have permission to be on the campus of the North Dakota State College of Science, but do not have to notify the school about who they may be investigating.
“Organizations that work on covert type activities a lot of time, they don’t run around with emblems on their cars and with uniforms, so on and so forth,” said Thorsteinson.
That stealth-like approach is what had Tammy Sadek angry and demanding answers.
“Who’s in charge of SEMCA? Do they have no boss? It doesn’t make sense,” she said.
When Valley News Live tried to find out who was in charge, we first called North Dakota’s top cop: Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
“It’s important to mention that BCI and my office have oversight of most of the narcotic task forces in North Dakota. But there is a couple of exceptions to that and one of those is SEMCA,” explained Stenehjem.
SEMCA operates as their own entity with their own Board of Directors and their own oversight.
“We don’t take a ‘hands off approach’,” said Chief Thorsteinson. “Its just that we don’t have to go hands on. They don’t require that we be in there steering them at all times. They are a competent people.”
Thorsteinson, also a SEMCA Board member, would not discuss the Sadek case, but did tell Valley News Live that what is alleged to have occurred is commonplace in law enforcement.
“If you help me out and you’re able to assist me in that, we might be able to help you out with lessening the penalty that you have to pay for whatever it is and its done that way all the time,” he explained.
That common law enforcement practice does not sit well with Tammy Sadek.
“We have talked to several students that were in the same situation. They were in the same situation and all of a sudden their charges would be wiped clean if they could tell them were Andrew is at. How ridiculous is that?”
SEMCA, like most task force agencies, is funded by the government agencies they serve. In this case, those agencies in southeastern North Dakota counties and cities help fund the force. SEMCA also receives money from a federal grant.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem added today that his office will wait to see how the investigation into Sadek’s death goes before launching their own investigation with the BCI.
Andrew Sadek’s mom is looking for answers. Tuesday she expressed the frustration that she and her husband have experienced.
Tammy Sadek says she thinks her son was murdered. Andrew was last seen leaving his NDSCS dorm on May 1st.
During the search felony drug charges were filed against him for selling pot twice.
In late June his body was pulled from the Red River near Breckenridge.
Autopsy results show that he died from a gunshot wound to the head and the backpack he was wearing contained rocks in it.
Today, Tammy Sadek talked with Valley News Team’s Nicole Johnson about the agencies linked to her son.
“The thing we talked about with Tammy today is that she has a lot of questions, and can’t seem to figure out where to get the answers, do you know where she should be getting the answers?” Johnson asks Harvey Link, NDSCS VP Academic and Student Affairs.
“No, I really don’t know where she should be looking on that, I think a lot of people have a lot of questions that would like to know more,” says Link.
Tammy’s biggest questions are for SEMCA, a multi-county drug task force that busted Andrew.
“They would have known where to look for Andrew. Knowing what they were dealing with, it’s just stupid, so someone needs to check into SEMCA’s practices is what I want to say. They bullied him from the get go, and they are bulling people today, it just has to stop,” says Tammy.
Tammy thinks SEMCA should have led the investigation, not the campus police. She says they didn’t have enough power.
“Do you think that having the campus police in charge of this investigation do you think they were in over their head?” Johnson asks Link.
“No I don’t think they were in over their head on something like this. Like I said before they work extensively with other agencies in these types of investigations, and of course realizing that when this investigation first began it began as a missing person investigation,” says Link.
NDSCS agrees with Tammy and is looking for answers and believe it could take a long time to get them.
The mother of North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) student Andrew Sadek is speaking out about her son’s death and calling out SEMCA, the Southeast Multi-County Agency Narcotics Task Force. In an interview with Valley News Live on Tuesday, Mother Tammy Sadek spoke openly about the fact that she believes her son was pressured by SEMCA and, ultimately, murdered. “They are looking for the weapon. What is that going to tell them?” Tammy says.
Her son Andrew was last seen on May 1, 2014 and his roommates reported him missing the following day. NDSCS campus police, and several area law enforcement agencies, searched for him. His body was recovered from the Red River near Breckenridge on June 27.
“We’re upset with the whole situation– the way it was conducted,” Tammy says. “The campus police did everything in their power, but they didn’t have enough power.”
Approximately a week after Andrew went missing, authorities filed felony drug charges against the 20-year-old. Court documents showed he was accused of delivering marijuana twice on the NDSCS campus in April of 2013. It total is estimated around $80. The Assistant State’s Attorney for Richland County would not talk about how the drug charges may have played a role in Sadek’s disappearance.
“He actually told us he was going to charge him with 20 years per offense, up to 20 years in prison. Now that would scare the hell out of anyone at 19,” says Andrew’s mother.
Tammy tells Valley News Live her son was working with SEMCA at the time of his disappearance, but wasn’t allowed to tell his parents he was working with them. She says she believes SEMCA pressures kids into working with them and she believes that may have played a role in his death.
“SEMCA should have stepped in from the minute he was listed as missing, and taken charge of the whole case, knowing what they did to him for 13 months, working with him and we didn’t know that and the campus police didn’t know that, so they should have taken charge immediately instead of letting the campus police be thrown under the bus so to speak,” she says.
Tammy, a mother left with many questions, is asking someone to step in and investigate SEMCA.
“We want to know what kind of pressure they are putting these kids under. Their practices are atrocious,” she says.
On Saturday, August 23, NDSCS police released the autopsy results for Andrew Sadek. The medical examiner determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death was ruled “undetermined.” The autopsy also found there were no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
Though authorities have not yet ruled Andrew’s death as a homicide or suicide, his family is very confident that he was murdered. Tammy told Valley News Live her son was happy.
“There’s no evidence of suicide. He had excellent grades, he had plans for the weekend. He had no reason to commit suicide. His back pack was weighted down and he was thrown in the river,” Tammy said.
NDSCS police say the Sadek case remains open and investigators are searching for the gun used in the crime. Campus police say they believe there is no threat to the campus community or the public.
Tuesday on Valley News Live at 5:00 and 6:00, hear much more from Tammy and about the SEMCA organization Andrew Sadek was apparently involved with at the time of his death.
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