It all began in Ronnie Coogle’s bedroom one fateful night while watching television along with his wife he saw, bullet proof vest clad detectives ‘cops’ bust into Westcott’s home.
Tampa man Jason Westcott killed by overzealous policemen
In an unexpected and rare turn of events, Ronnie Coogle, a 50 year old criminal and police informant found himself in throes of guilt and decided to spill the beans on his masters – the Tampa police department in charge of drug trafficking to the Tampa Bay Times, earlier this year, in July.
A ‘confidential informant’, ‘C.I.’ of the police department Ronnie’s job was to walk in the shadows of drug sellers and report them to the police. How he got his information and under what circumstances were of not much concern to his employers, who wanted drug trafficking cases on record and officers on duty occupied in resolving them.
Ronnie Coogle’s credibility arose from facts such as, that he turned over at least 5 suspects and gave information for nine undercover raids to be conducted, earning him the accolade ‘reliable’ from the police department. The fact that Ronnie was a felon and drug abuser did not cast any shadow on himself and his authenticity as a CI.
His existence is totally behind the scene and his identity protected by Florida Law. According to police, narcotics investigators do not tape informers’ conversations since recordings are shared with Fort Myers criminal defense attorneys, which pose the risk disclosure of the informer’s identity.
The story behind Jason Westcott and Izzy Reyes
In this incredible story Jason Westcott is a 29 year old motorcycle mechanic and handyman, known to his neighbors as very kind and helpful, lived in a rented bungalow located at 906 W. Knollwood St., along with his boyfriend Izzy Reyes, 22. The latter was a die hard family man who whipped up sandwiches at the International Plaza Food Court.
The duo was a happy couple, whose hospitality that even Ronnie enjoyed. However, the detective department suspected them of being drug sellers and asked Ronnie to try and buy drugs from them. They denied being drug sellers, but admitted to being casual smokers of pot which they sold to their friends some times. Neither were criminals, Reyes was clean and Westcott had on record, a small marijuana offense.
The tables turned on the duo one night when Ronnie, short on cash informed, on them. A snitch, adding up to $20 marijuana brought by Ronnie from Westcott had the detectives out in full force on that fateful night to arrest the duo for drug trafficking. It was a tragic night for this Tampa neighborhood, when the police forcefully entered Westcott’s home with a warrant, threw his mate Reyes on the floor, and shot Westcott point blank with a shot gun.
The unfairness behind the shooting turns informant into whistle blower
On that fateful night when Westcott was killed Ronnie tried calling off the detectives from his cell phone, getting through only at 3 am when it was all over.
Horrified and estranged from his wife over the period of next few months he tried to seek restitution from the FBI who did not give his story much value instead began questioning his drug habits, marital problems along with his history as a felon where he was described by a victim, a woman who once gave him a lift as, psychotic, unstable, and crazy. Ronnie falsified his story as an informant against two suspects, one of whom was Westcott. He also spoke of being paid $295 for the information against Westcott; his wife says it was $395.
Can such a man have a conscience or even a credible story that would help Fort Myers criminal defense attorneys bring justice to Westcott and open up an investigation against the police department? Only time will tell. In the meantime, Ronnie Coogle’s five suspects are being investigated carefully; his family and their identity remain undisclosed by Florida law as should Ronnie Coogle’s, but the paper has published only his name and as a whistle blower.