Alex Johnson, Colombian Snitch in Case Against Buju Banton, Earned Millions From U.S. Government

Alex Johnson -- a main character in this week's cover story about the conviction of Buju Banton -- on Monday further delayed his bankruptcy hearing. On the surface, there's nothing extraordinary about that; many Americans have turned to bankruptcy proceedings, which can stretch months if not years.

But Johnson isn't a U.S. citizen, and he'll never be one due to his felony-laden criminal record. Yet he has managed to earn nearly $3.5 million of taxpayer money while working as a confidential informant. He's a persistent and crafty snitch who used booze and claims of music industry contacts to lure Buju, a Grammy-winning reggae artist, into environments he may otherwise have avoided. Johnson also wasn't too fond of paying taxes, so the IRS put a lien on his pay from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The lien, however, was mysteriously lifted just days before he got paid for the Buju bust.

Johnson, the Depatment of Justice, and the DEA declined requests for interviews. So to get a better grasp on how fruitful and wonky the life of a snitch can be, we pulled a few interesting numbers that have marked the life of Alex Johnson. 

Here, a numerical breakdown of South Florida's multimillion-dollar snitch.

700: Number of kilos Alex Johnson said he was caught trying to bring into Miami in 1993.

21.5: Years Johnson was sentenced to serve.

2.5: Years he actually served.

16: Years Johnson has been working as a confidential informant. 

$3.3 million: Approximate amount of untaxed income he has earned working as a confidential informant.

$206,000: Mean per-year salary as a professional snitch.

$898,500: Price he paid for a home in a western Broward County gated community.

$50,000: Paycheck he earned for the bust that netted Buju Banton.

$200,000: Approximate amount Johnson owed the IRS in 2010, the same year he filed for bankruptcy and testified against Buju.

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Chris Sweeney