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More Drug Raids



 Every day there are news reports like this. Sometimes the targets of the
raid die, as in Malibu, sometimes they shoot back and kill some narcs,
sometimes the story gets downplayed, sometimes a new libertarian is made.

In this story, note especially the line about: "They were told that if they
refused, they would be put in handcuffs, a search warrant would be issued,
and their belongings would be tossed into the middle of their rooms."

In these Beknighted States of Amerika, any assertion of Constitutional
rights is met with toilet plungers.

Meanwhile, the LEAs scream for more helicopters, more drug-sniffing dogs,
more Bradley fighting vehicles, more Nomex ninja suits, more M-16s, and
more toilet plungers.

==begin article==

".c The Associated Press

LEE, Mass. (AP) - A federal drug agent publicly apologized Thursday for
raiding the home of a local building inspector on the mistaken suspicion he
was a marijuana trafficker. A spokesman for the couple said, however, they
were awaiting a personal apology and intended to press forward with
complaints.

"This is the all-American family. If it could happen to them, it could
happen to anybody," said state Rep. Chris Hodgkins, a relative who acted as
their spokesman Thursday.

"They are law-abiding citizens, and I'm very, very sorry this happened,"
said George Fester, the agent in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration's operations in New England.

Daniel Keenan, who serves as building inspector in Lee and neighboring
Stockbridge, said he was reading the newspaper in his front yard on Sept. 5,
with his son playing nearby, when six state and federal officers drove up in
separate cars. The agents told him they had reason to believe that 300 pounds
of marijuana had been in his garage.

Keenan said the agents didn't have a search warrant, but he signed a consent
form allowing the house and garage to be searched.

They were told that if they refused, they would be put in handcuffs, a search
warrant would be issued, and their belongings would be tossed into the middle
of their rooms, Hodgkins said. The agents claimed to have video showing a
drug delivery to the house.

As neighbors and the couple's three young children gathered to watch, the
agents used a drug-sniffing dog to search the house and garage. After a
fruitless two-hour search, they left. But the agents said they might return
for further interrogation.

Festa said an internal investigation was under way to determine just how the
Keenans came to be targeted. He said he was sending a regional supervisor to
talk to the family and also planned to make a personal visit to apologize.

Hodgkins acknowledged that two agents had returned earlier to the house to
discuss the raid with the family, but he said they refused to apologize in
front of the children.

"I want to know how they came to the conclusion this house was the house,
how they came to be so wrong," Keenan's wife, Laurie, said Thursday. "We're
concerned about the shadow of doubt this has created around us."

"We had these cowboys of DEA agents violating their rights," Hodgkins said.
"The kids were terrified. Everybody's still terrified."

He said he was writing complaints on behalf of the family to U.S. Attorney
Donald Stern and state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

AP-NY-09-11-97 1835EDT

==end article==