US Marijuana Party

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Did cops enter wrong home in drug raid?


DOVER -- The Morris County Prosecutor's Office is investigating misconduct allegations against three officers who went to the wrong apartment here during a pre-dawn drug sweep Saturday.

Joseph Devine, chief of investigations of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, who was in charge of the operation, said officers apparently went to 28 E. Blackwell Street, Apt. 1. They did not have a search warrant, only an arrest warrant for a Carlos Acevedo-Vral, of 28 W. Blackwell Street, Apt. 1.

"Probable as it may be, it is still unacceptable," Devine said of the apparent address confusion.

The tenant in the "wrong"apartment, Fernando López, 41, complained that three officers, one in uniform and two dressed as civilians, somehow got into his building, knocking on his apartment door, the first door to the right, and ordered him to open the door.

"At first, I thought there was a fire," López said late Monday night.

López said as soon as they came into the apartment, they pushed him against the wall in the kitchen, and the three officers put their guns to his head.

One of them kept him against the wall, his head unable to move, while the other two proceeded into the apartment, searching the closets, living room, bathroom, and the bedroom, where his partner, Pilar Pena, remained in bed, unable to move.

The officers, they said, didn't have a search warrant.

When López managed to see the address on the arrest warrant, pointing out the mistake to the officers, he said, "one officer turned to the other and said, 'Oh, my God.' And as soon as he said that, they left."

López said they never apologized and when he asked for their names, they simply told him to take it up with the Prosecutor's Office.


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