Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yet another drug raid gone wrong

Police will naturally tell you that these are unfortunate and either isolated or extremely rare incidents. This is the third I've read about in 2 weeks. From the Durango Herald Online:

Law-enforcement officers raided the wrong house and forced a 77-year-old La Plata County woman on oxygen to the ground last week in search of methamphetamine.
Virginia Herrick sits in her Durango West I home on Thursday. She is sitting in the same chair where she first saw men wearing gas masks outside the window on her right June 8. The men, agents of the Southwest Drug Task Force, moments later barged into her home, ordered her to the floor and put handcuffs on her. Virginia Herrick stands in front of the spot in her home where she was ordered to lie on the floor when law-enforcement officers mistakenly raided her house June 8. The officers intended to raid a house next door to Herrick’s. The house on the right is Herrick’s home. The one to the left is the trailer that was supposed to be raided.

The raid occurred about 11 a.m. June 8, as Virginia Herrick was settling in to watch "The Price is Right." She heard a rustling outside her mobile home in Durango West I and looked out to see several men with gas masks and bulletproof vests, she said.

Herrick went to the back door to have a look.

"I thought there was a gas leak or something," she said.

But before reaching the door, La Plata County Sheriff's deputies shouted "search warrant, search warrant" and barged in with guns drawn, she said. They ordered Herrick to the ground and began searching the home.

"They didn't give me a chance to ask for a search warrant or see a search warrant or anything," she said in a phone interview Thursday. "I'm not about to argue with those big old guys, especially when they've got guns and those big old sledgehammers."

La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard and Southwest Drug Task Force Director Lt. Rick Brown confirmed Herrick's story.

Some deputies stayed with Herrick as others searched the house. They entered every bedroom and overturned a mattress in her son's room.

Deputies asked Herrick if she knew a certain man, and she said no. Then they asked what address they were at, and she told them 74 Hidden Lane.

Deputies intended to raid 82 Hidden Lane - the house next door.

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