Raids, Seizures, Sentencing

February 22 - World Net Daily reports: A family in Pueblo, Colo., is suing the DEA and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations after a no-knock raid resulted in their two sons being arrested and jailed despite the fact no drugs were found on the premises.

According to the suit, "black-masked, black-helmeted men brandishing automatic weapons and wearing all-black uniforms with no insignias suddenly burst into the house unannounced, kicked the family's dog across the floor, ordered the entire family to 'get on the [expletive] floor,' held them at gunpoint, searched the house, found no drugs or contraband, but nevertheless carted off the family's two sons, Dave and Marcos, and imprisoned them illegally and without charges."

Mark Silverstein, ACLU legal director, said this: "Once again the war on drugs misses the target and instead scores a direct hit on the Constitution. These government agents had no search warrant, no arrest warrant and no lawful authority whatsoever. They carried out this armed home invasion in flagrant disregard of the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable searches and arrests without probable cause."

Other examples of raids gone awry, include:

Tony Martinez, 19 and unarmed, was killed by taskforce officers during a raid on a mobile home in Del Valle, Texas, Dec. 2001. He wasn't even the target of the raid.

Deputy Keith Ruiz was shot dead during a drug raid while breaking down the door of a different Del Valle mobile home Feb. 15, 2001. Thinking there were burglars outside, Edwin Delamore, 21, fired from inside and killed Ruiz. He's now charged with capital murder.

Eleven-year-old Alberto Sepulveda was shot dead during a Sept. 13, 2000, SWAT raid that targeted the boy's father. An officer on the scene accidentally squeezed off a shot, killing the boy instantly. Last month, the family settled a federal lawsuit over the death. The only question that remains: Can $450,000 replace Alberto?

February 22 - Ontario, CanadaĆ­s Kitchener-Waterloo Record reports: For the first time in Waterloo Region, police are trying to take away houses used for large-scale marijuana-growing operations.

Yesterday, police announced they had seized six houses and two cars valued at about $1.25 million as part of a joint RCMP-Waterloo regional police investigation into the proceeds of crime from pot-grows.

In addition to the loss of the house, owners could face hefty court-imposed fines, he said. "Any time we can inflict a bigger loss, the more impact (there is) on the organization. They need cash to operate. The idea is to take away as much from them as you can to decapitate them."

February 22 - MississippiĆ­s Clarion Ledger reports: Fredrick Gaddis, a former Jackson police sergeant sentenced Thursday to eight years in federal prison, blasted a former officer and friend who helped snare him and four other officers in a drug-payoff scheme.

"There is a hell for (Ronald) Youngblood," Gaddis, 39, said after being sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Barbour. "He has demons to deal with."

Youngblood, a former sergeant who worked with Gaddis in Precinct 3, helped the FBI in the 15-month sting after officials began investigating him for taking money from drug dealers.

John Colette, Gaddis' lawyer, said: "Youngblood made a deal with the devil. He was dirtier than all of them and he went and got his friends to make a deal for himself. Him and Fred were good friends and battled their lives on the streets together. I'll make a bet that Youngblood never spends a day in prison."

Gaddis, who supervised a street-level drug enforcement unit, pleaded guilty Dec. 7 to accepting cash for providing protection to undercover agents who were posing as drug dealers. He took $1,000 to protect a shipment of 22 pounds of cocaine agents set up March 16, 2000, and another $1,000 to protect a 22-pound shipment on June 2, 2000.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson kcnelson@premier1.net.

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