A seemingly straightforward drug bust turns out to be anything but when a cover-up involving police entrapment, unwilling informants and abuse of power is revealed in a sleepy US college town.

In Wahpeton, North Dakota, where the crime rate is so low people often don’t lock their front doors, 20-year-old college student Andrew Sadek mysteriously disappears in May 2014 and is found dead almost two months later. What Andrew’s friends and family didn’t know was that in the months before his death, he had been coerced into becoming an informant for an aggressive police task force that had been secretly operating for years. As details of Andrew’s double life are revealed, the cover of the shadowy program is blown, laying bare the collusion and abuse of power of local law enforcement at all levels.

Following the Sadek family’s fight for the truth about how their son was killed, the film skilfully uncovers the forces at play in his death and reveals why law enforcement secretly waged a war on drugs, on a college campus that didn’t have a drug problem.

Trevor Birney is primarily known as a producer of many of Northern Ireland’s most important and successful documentaries, including No Stone Unturned and Bobby Sands: 66 Days. This film is his feature directorial debut, and premiered as part of Hot Docs’ 2020 ‘Made in Northern Ireland’ section.

“During this pivotal time when defunding the police force is being demanded by members of the public, Trevor Birney’s documentary The Dakota Entrapment Tapes slots perfectly into the debate. The documentary highlights just one situation where corruption used in law enforcement has devastated a community.” FILM IRELAND