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BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington vice unit detective spent several hours Wednesday on the witness stand answering questions from a man representing himself on drug charges.

Andrew Pinkston, 47, is on trial for allegedly selling crack cocaine to a confidential police informant in June.

During his testimony, Detective Jered Bierbaum explained that confidential sources are an important tool for police efforts to combat drugs.

“There are a lot of times confidential sources can easily buy from a drug source;... we rely on confidential sources pretty heavily,” said Bierbaum, who was part of a team that arrested Pinkston following what was described as a  controlled drug buy in Bloomington.

Jurors watched a video Wednesday of Pinkston's interview with Bierbaum after the suspect was arrested after allegedly selling $50 worth of cocaine to a confidential source.

Pinkston provided the detective with several names of alleged drug suppliers, including the man he said provided him with the crack cocaine used in the sale. 

"Give me the name of the biggest person you know," Bierbaum urged Pinkston. 

When Pinkston asked the officer if he wanted him to "go fishing" for names, the detective responded, "I do the fishing and I caught you."

In his hours of cross-examination, Pinkston attempted to ask many questions of the detective but objections by Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Horve left them unanswered.

On Tuesday, Pinkston confronted the confidential source on the witness stand with questions about the alleged drug sale. The two men were acquainted through previous drug deals, according to the witness.

The informant admitted he cooperated with police in hopes of receiving their assistance with his arrest the same day on unrelated drug charges. He testified that he was released and the investigation into his drug case was closed after he helped police secure Pinkston's arrest.

The informant also received $100 for his help with the June case and another $200 after his testimony on Tuesday, according to Bierbaum. The detective rejected Pinkston's suggestion that the $200 was payment for testimony.

"I don't pay people to testify," said the detective, adding that the witness had incurred travel expenses and missed work to attend the trial.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the four-day trial.   

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Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny


McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

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