"Most of the informants we develop, are involved in criminal activity. You get your best information from people who have knowledge of the crimes or are being involved in committing the crimes," said [Sgt. Clay] Aitken [of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.] Records on the number of informants and what they're paid is not made public by the sheriff's office. Aitken says informants are paid with seized drug money, not taxpayers' dollars. "I've seen informants get paid anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars. But there's no set rate or set fee," said Aitken.
One of [the reporter's] law enforcement sources who has worked directly with informants, says he's personally seen a Mid-South informant get handed $50,000 cash for one tip that led to a huge drug bust but that's nothing compared to what the Feds can offer and he says informants have been known to shop their information around selling it to the highest bidder.