A Mercedes police officer, who spoke to Action 4 News under condition of anonymity, said public safety was put at risk during a "botched," undercover drug bust on March 22nd at the Chili's restaurant parking lot.
Action 4 News obtained internal police reports from that incident.
They indicated how an investigator used his personal vehicle to transport a prisoner-turned-drug-informant to meet in the parking lot.
Two suspects, who still are on the run, were allegedly going to deliver four pounds of marijuana to that prisoner.
Instead, the investigator and another police officer were nearly run over at the scene.
Two shots were fired at the fleeing suspects. The investigator's vehicle was left smashed-up in the process.
Our source detailed how a number of standard protocols were not followed.
They included how dispatch was never alerted to the bust for communication purposes and how a marked unit was never placed near the scene in case of a potential problem.
Mercedes Police Chief Olga Maldonado said the reports we obtained were unfinished. She not did dispute the fact that her officers may have acted improperly.
Ryan: "Do you usually have a marked patrol unit nearby and did you have it in this case?Chief: We usually use a marked unit close by... You know it should have been used."
People who dine and shop in the high traffic area near the Mercedes Outlet Mall had conflicting opinions about officers using the restaurant parking lot to bust drug dealers.
"I don't feel safe a lot of the time... I work here at the outlets, Brittany Jones said.
"Families come here... It's a big place... A lot of people come here... I think somewhere else would be better," Diego Garcia said.
Solidad Ortiz feels officers should be allowed to do what TMs necessary to get the bad guys off the streets.
It's got to be taken care of, she said. No matter where it happens... I'm sure the authorities are taking proper precautions."
That may not be the case with the Mercedes incident in question.
Ryan: "Did your officers act appropriately in this situation or are there going to be changes made after this?Chief: Of course, Ryan| We're going to make changes... We're not finished with our investigation."But some Mercedes police officers, both current and former, fear nothing will be done.