Illinois Cops Give Family Ten Minutes Between Delivery of Mysterious Marijuana Package and No-Knock Drug Raid

According to the Lake County News-Sun, last Friday a family in the village of Beach Park, Illinois was given a ten minute window between the postal delivery of a mysterious, unsolicited package — said to contain marijuana — and a no-knock drug raid that involved the family tied up, with guns pointed at their faces, while their home was ransacked by police.

Paul Brown, the source of the story, claims that the police destroyed property, and, says the article, "even pull[ed] out insulation in the basement." Brown, who lived at the residence with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, the son in law's brother, and Brown's 77-year-old mother-in-law says he was working in the basement when a loud noise startled him and he walked upstairs to find cops breaking into his home, in spite of his open garage door. Cops pointed their guns in his face, cuffed Brown, made him sit in a chair and refused to answer questions as to what they were doing. 

What police with the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group were doing, besides emptying drawers and "smash[ing] things and crash[ing] things" was assuming that the family knew about the apparently illicit content of the package addressed to someone who didn't live in the house. Brown says he didn't see the name, or even get a good look at the package which, says his son-in-law had the name "Oscar" and some other last name. The address was correct. Brown's son-in-law had just signed for accepted the package and left it, unopened, beside the front door. 

The cops apparently had a warrant for Brown's address, except that it was listed as Waukegan, which is one of the two townships that contains Beack Park. Waukegan is nearly five miles to the south of Beach Park, though, according to Google maps.

Says the Lake County News-Sun, Brown found the whole experience to be traumatic:

“It’s pretty shadowy and pretty bizarre for us,” he said of the two-hour ordeal that began around 4 p.m. Friday. “I was terrified. My chest was hurting and I am a diabetic and prone to heart attacks.”

Watching the officers fist bump and high-five each other as they tracked broken glass from the front door through the house also irritated him.

“I was basically held hostage,” he said.

His 77-year-old mother-in-law also lives with them and she was in the kitchen when the raid happened. Police gave her the search warrant to read instead of giving it to Brown.

“We live a very simple life,” he said, “We all work. No one does drugs here.” His son-in-law works in general construction and his brother works for a security firm.

“They were upset they didn’t find anything. When I asked them who was going to pay for the door they basically said, ‘Not us’,” said Brown, who noted the door on his luxury home was valued at $3,000 some 12 years ago and the lock set was another $130 from Home Depot.

Brown also says his mother's blood pressure has been high since the raid, and the whole family is having trouble relaxing. The family's call to the police department have gone unreturned, and they have gotten a lawyer who is is looking into filing a civil suit.

Calls from the Lake County News-Sun and from Reason have so far gone unreturned as well.

At first glance, this case is reminiscent of what happened to Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo who had a package of unsolicited marijuana delivered to his home in 2008. Calvo was encouraged by his grim experience, which included  police killing his two pet dogs, to start advocating for more accountability and oversight with the use of SWAT teams. The Prince George's County Police raid on Calvo's home was ruled legitimate.

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  • LTC(ret) John||

    10 minutes? That means the warrant was obtained well before the chest beaters got there to SMASHSEARCHDESTROY. Somebody in the Lake County State's Attorney and the Lake County Sheriff's Office needs to be paying for this damage out of their own damned pockets.

  • T||

    That's what I was just thinking. They knew the package was going to be delivered ahead of time. The whole thing stinks. I'd lawyer up hard and sue the fuck out of everybody, because discovery is gonna be interesting.

  • WTF||

    Watching the officers fist bump and high-five each other as they tracked broken glass from the front door through the house

    Fucking baboons, all of them.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I'd be curious to know what the probable cause was, that the warrant was based on. Last I knew probable cause referred to past crimes, not future crimes.

  • Paul.||

    I'm not entirely sure about that. There seem to be a lot of wrong-door no-knock raids based on "anonymous tips".

    Regardless, it seems that the cops just want to break shit. They could have had an undercover (since they seemed to know the package was coming) deliver the package and then quietly put everyone under arrest once they signed for it.

    Like the David Koresh situation (where they could have quietly popped him while he was on his way to the AM/PM to get cigarettes) instead they have to make a big, armed military show of it.

    Guess it's hard to high-five and knuckle-bump with two uniforms and a squad car.

  • Bill||

    They don't get many chances to use their big, shiny urban assault vehicles so they need to grab every one they can.

  • Duncan20903||

    Warrants like this are issued every day of the week in the U.S. The probable cause is the cannabis in the package. The warrant only becomes valid after someone accepts delivery and takes it into the house. If the resident of the house refuses delivery the warrant isn't any good. I'm not sure what would happen if a resident signs for the package and leaves it sitting on the porch.

  • John||

    Lucy.

    The County News Sun link is bad.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Wow, it sure is. One sec and I shall fix it.

  • Drake||

    Is this a new game? Want to fuck with somebody? Just mail them a box of pot and show up at their house with the Post Man. You get to bust up their house, cuff them, arrest them, whatever you want. If you do happen to find something illegal in the house, maybe some charges will stick.

  • John||

    Or better yet, if there is someone you don't like, just mail them a box of pot and call the police and tip them off. And sure enough a bunch of monkeys will show up to shoot their dog and ransack their house.

  • Drake||

    Takes SWATing to a higher level.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I know I'm Godwin-ing the thread here, but didn't people rat out others who were harboring Jews 70 years ago?

    Same shit, different bullshit reason.

  • WTF||

    I know I'm Godwin-ing the thread here

    Didn't the Nazis actually have the decency to knock?

  • Paul.||

    Those were different, more polite times.

  • Fluffy||

    The beginning of Inglorious Basterds, where the Nazi breaks the Frenchman down conversationally, is so quaint in our day and age.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Lucy,

    "Lakewood County Metropolitan Enforcement Group"

    It is "Lake County" - or, as we know it around here - 'the county where you live in a mansion or a double wide.'

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I blame D. J. Walde. Fixing, thanks.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So no one's dog was shot and this guy has the nerve to get all pissy?

    (And rubber stamp judges are idiots.)

  • R C Dean||

    The cops apparently had a warrant for Brown's address, except that it was listed as Waukegan.

    So, not a valid warrant.

    Waukegan is nearly five miles to the south of Beach Park, though that is the address listed for the Beach Park Police Department.

    This sentence baffles me.

  • WTF||

    So, not a valid warrant.

    And yet, the lawsuit likely gets thrown out, because 'fuck you, that's why'.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Not necessarily. Sometimes there are multiple valid "cities" for the same mailing address.

    If only we had a decent address parsing expert here to explain the situation.

  • T||

    Legally, no. You are either within the bounds of the municipality or you are not. This isn't something that lends itself to grey areas.

  • ||

    i already explained this. it may or may not be relevant to the case

    everybody lives in a political subdivision

    let's say you live 516 3 av S in seattle. at the courthouse

    that is in the CITY of Seattle

    the mailing address is ALSO city of seattle.

    it is also within the county of King

    MANY addresses are not within a city. that's true in states tht have unincoporated areas. like WA. or CA. RI has none.

    if you live in Ravensdale WA, you will have a RAVENSDALE zip code.
    however, ravensdale is an AREA, not a political subdivision. hence, you will live in king county

    your MAIL will be addressed to your address in "Ravensdale"

    however, if you call the coppers, you will get the SHERIFF OFFICE because it's actually an unincorporated area of the county

    a WARRANT woild list your address as XXXXX se 272 St in Unincorporated King County

    "but i live in ravensdale". ravensdale is an area. it's like saying you live in capital hill. that's AN AREA. it's IN the city of seattle. which is in the county of king

    if a felony happens at your house, you will get Seattle PD. but KING COUNTY prosecutor will take the case because the county handles felonies. municipal city court only handles misdemeanors and infractions

    County prosecutor ALSO handles misdemeanors and infractions that occur in the county.

    EVEN IF THAT COUNTY address is listeed witj a KENT post office code.

    got it?

  • ||

    ugh. the felony stuff refers to the capital hill adress (if a felony happens at your house)

  • The Last American Hero||

    So let's say you and 2 buddies in the zip code for Century Link Field in Seattle, and you litter in front of a cop and then get verbally abusive and physically intimidating when she confronts you. Do you get to go to jail in a Seattle Zip Code or the Bellevue Zip Code where you work? If you're a Bellevue cop apparently you get to walk away with no charges. If you were a non-cop, you get jailed in the Seattle zip code, and if you're a minority, you get your head stomped on the curb and get to actually become part of the zip code.

  • Skyhawk||

    Why not make it foolproof and include lat/long?

  • Paul.||

    Are you saying that Warrants will list an address of 322 Maple Lane, Chicago, Pamona, North Platte, Manassas, Tampa, Jackson Hole or Burbank?

    And so the cops are allowed to hit all of those as long as the number and street match?

  • Juice||

    No, what he's saying is that sometimes people live in unincorporated areas, but a city must be listed on the address, even though you live in no incorporated city. So, sometimes the same street address can be listed with different very nearby cities. The zip is the same just not the city. For example, I could put 3 different cities for my address and I would get the mail. I can do it on google maps too. Actually I can use two different zip codes and it'll work for some reason.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even if you're in an incorporated area, if it's one of several that share the same zip code, anyone of them will work. e.g. I live in Limerick, PA (19468), but sending stuff to my street address in Royersford, PA or Linfield, PA will all end up coming to me.

  • ||

    right. all the post office cares about is the zip code, you can list the city as "lollipop forest" and if the zip code and address ar right, it will get there

    period

  • ||

    BINGO

    thank you

  • Paul.||

    Ok, fair enough. I did a google map search in my area and across two counties found like eight or nine 322 1st Ave addresses (randomly picked out of thin air)

    My first thought was, "Wow, if we were talking state police, they have a warrant for nine different households-- they could bust a lot of heads"

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Local judges almost always refuse to make any ruling on the basis on which charges are brought up, hoping the defendant will just plead out, and pushing any actual decision making to higher courts.

  • aelhues||

    Really, this is not surprising at all. Beach Park is situated between random spurs of Waukegan.

    I used to live on an acre of Waukegan land where behind us, the house next door to the south, and across the road were all Beach Park.

    Also, we were in Zion school district. Zion being the city just north of Beach park.

  • ||

    all you anti-cop bigots need to calm down and WAIT for the investigation

    i have been personally thanked many times by people for raiding their house

  • WTF||

    Needs more 'hth'.

  • ||

    i dont need to explain myself to you and your childh little ilk

    the fact is, im out there every day keeping you SAFE while you hid behind your computer screen

  • WTF||

    i am overwhelmingly a force for GOOD

    the bigorati like you arent wothy of answering with anymore but i can converse intellgntlly with some of the adults here

  • Skyhawk||

    No you're not. You show up after-the-fact.
    Your main job is to raise revenue.

    Only a sociopath thinks it's OK to bust down doors and terrorize a family with guns drawn because of a weed.

    What were they protected from? A box?

    Did any of those cops protect the families Constitutional rights, as they took an oath to uphold?

    Or did they just see $$$ and arrest stats?

  • ||

    Or did they just see $$$ and arrest stats?

    Worse. They saw a chance to kick in someone's front door, point guns at the people inside, and tear apart their house. They got to experience the thrill of thoroughly dominating, humiliating, and terrorizing other people inside their own home. To people like this, the rush is incomparable, and I truly believe that this is the impetus for these no-knock raids.

  • Skyhawk||

    Judging by the high-fives and fist-bumping, you're probably right.

  • Azimandias||

    You keep us safe like paying protection money protects us.

    You are the monopoly of violent gang problem in this country, and the victims of your righteous culture-war crusades have every right to fear and resent you.

  • johnl||

    More \n.

  • ||

    In a free society, in a situation like this, you would have either:

    a) a valid warrant, served on the correct premises, with the minimum amount a force necessary to conduct the search

    or . . .

    b) an armed home invasion.

    I can't think of a "c" that should be created just because the invaders are wearing some faggoty costume.

  • R C Dean||

    So, have the local authoritays said yet whether they will or will not bring charges against anyone for the box 'o' pot? After all, it was signed for, and was on their property. Sounds like an open and shut case, to me.

  • Drake||

    The article didn't say anything about it being signed for. It was just delivered and brought inside.

  • Paul.||

    Brown's son-in-law had just signed for the package and left it, unopened, beside the front door

    Or did you mean the original article Lucy sourced? I haven't clicked through.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    This is of course horrible, hamhanded police procedure, but... how the fuck stupid do you have to be to sign for an unsolicited package with an invalid name on it? Forget drugs, what if it's a mail bomb? I'd be leery of accepting an unsolicited package even if it had my name on it.

  • Andrew S.||

    Blaming the victim again, are we?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    No, just saying the victim was stupid.

    Those of us who recognized that US foreign policy led to 9/11 and ferociously deny charges of "blaming America" should understand the underling logic.

  • ||

    note also the case law about receiving packages was EXACTLY the same before 911

  • Whahappan?||

    Do you look at the address on every package you sign for? There were multiple adults living at the house. The son-in-law probably didn't even look at who it was addressed to, just assumed it was for someone else living there as he apparently wasn't expecting a package.

  • Paul.||

    You've never had a surprise package mailed to you for your birthday?

    Despite what the GOP says, terrorists are not hovering behind every blade of grass, sending out mail bombs to unsuspecting pharmacists and carpenters across the land.

    Except for the terrorists who created a warrant, mailied this guy the package and then raided the place immediately after.

  • Skyhawk||

    Then why did Obama extend the Patriot Act, approve warrantless wiretaps, and sue to keep the indefinite detention of US citizens legal?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    No one has ever mailed me a surprise package. If I recognized the return address I probably would accept it, especially if it were near a birthday or common gift exchanging holiday.

    No return address, or an unfamiliar return address? No way. It's going back.

  • ||

    like it or not , IF a person "accepts the package and the police can surviel and see him bring it inside, that's PC to get a warrant

    however it's just PC. they need to find OTHER drugs to charge.

    i'm not speaking normatively.

  • Azimandias||

    Because there's a pandemic of mail bombs in this country right now... I mean, the last report of one in the US was a mere two decades ago.

    Curiosity, bemusement, a sense of 'ah, fuckit, maybe someone else in the family knows?'

  • ||

    This is of course horrible, hamhanded police procedure nothing more than an armed home invasion, but... how the fuck stupid do you have to be to sign for an unsolicited package with an invalid name on it?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    No, they had a legitimate warrant. They shouldn't be allowed to serve the warrant in that manner IMHO, and it's very fishy that they apparently had a warrant before the "crime" of receiving MJ was even committed, but it's not the same thing as a home invasion.

  • ||

    Whether or not the address was correct, they knew the package wasn't addressed to anyone in the home. And because they were aware of the package (and its contents) before it was ever delivered, the police could simply have intercepted the package before it was delivered OR sent a couple plainclothes officers to the address to knock on the door and ask to discuss the package that was sent. It's the needlessly violent manner in which this warrant was executed that makes it nothing more than an armed home invasion.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "very fishy that they apparently had a warrant before the "crime""

    Making the warrant invalid.

    Similar to Ryan Frederick.

  • ||

    these type of cases are referred to as "controlled delivery"

    usually, they happen when the post office or a private carrier looks inside a package and finds contraband

    they call the cops. package is resealed and delivered. person signs, takes it inside

    BOOM . that's called PC

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That is a very accurate, although gay and unacceptable concept of the way probable cause should work. Why don't you fuck yourself with it.

    Clown.

  • Whahappan?||

    I'm sure you're correct "legally," and I know you are simply providing information, not necessarily defending the practice, but this perfectly illustrates the depravity of our legal system. How anybody can participate in such evil is baffling to me.

  • Drake||

    The article said nothing about them signing for it.

  • ||

    Brown's son-in-law had just signed for the package and left it, unopened, beside the front door.
  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I feel like tracking some glass in to a Lake County pig's domicile.

    Fuck those cunts.

  • Andrew S.||

    I'll note that they have a tip page here http://www.lakecountymeg.org/Tips_071907.htm where one can anonymously submit tips regarding possible violations of our benevolent government's prohibition on the scourge of dangerous illegal drugs. I'd hope nobody would ever consider misusing such a page.

  • joebwan||

    Great priorities. My sister lives in Waukegan, and the cops there can't be bothered to respond when there is open-air drug dealing in front of her house in broad daylight. Yet the MEGs have time to frame somebody in Beach Park and wreck their house. Well done.

    I grew up in Lake County. Nobody from around there would ever mistake Beach Park for Waukegan, like these guys pretend to. It would be like mistaking Hollywood for Pasadena.

  • aelhues||

    Are you kidding? The city lines are so convoluted, most of the cops don't know where one starts and the other ends. While in a car a friend was driving, years ago, we were involved in an accident. When the Waukegan cop showed up, she insisted she was outside her jurisdiction, until I pointed out the sign ~50yds away indicating the border of Waukegan.

    You may think you know one from the other, but I highly doubet you do.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This is of course horrible, hamhanded police procedure, but...

    "On the whole, the play was alright, but some of the dialog was rather stilted, don't you think, Mrs Lincoln?"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the package wasn't addressed to anyone in the home.

    It was a pseudonym. Damned clever, these narcoterroristas. This is why unannounced overpowering force is the only possible tactic to be considered.

  • ||

    lots of fuckupedness here, but first and foremost. what POSSIBLE jusrification was there for a NO KNOCK raid? im assuming arguendo that it was no-knock because that's how lucy described it

    there must be MUST BE strict accountability for when no-knocks are authorized, and the bar should be set high.

    was there evidence of violent crime by residents of the home? (not likely)

    threats to kill police? (no)

    etc.

    all i see is acceptance of a plain brown wrapped package that happened to contain mj. why not simply KNOCK, and wait for an answer?

    i expect some snarky comments, but i;m being super serial. and imo, if cops do a no-knock WITHOUT proper justification and documentation, that should be an automatic money payout. and of course- the door.

    my agency has some pretty strict criteria for no-knocks.

    and did a judge SIGN a no-knock?

    i RTFA and i see no confirmation of a no-knock, nor do i see those words used. i see claims of the door came busting in immediately, which is not QUITE the same thing. is lucy assuming it was no-knock or was it?

    i've learned to be skeptical because that shit DOES happen here.

  • ||

    as for the address thing.

    packages SHOULD be addressed with the postal code city. that is frequently NOT the same thing as the political jurisdiction. iow, it may be a wank about nothing. there are homes around here that are in one jurisdiction, but the POSTAL zip is in another one. postal zip "cities" are not political boundaries. they are zip code boundaries

    so, people may be making much ado about nothing there

    i've written search warrant affidavits and in the affidavit i will make clear the house is in the CITY of (XXXX) but in the zip code of 9XXXXX which is in the post office zip area of XXXX

    FREQUENTLY, they are different

    example. pull up an address in the 98148 area code. they are generally listed as SEATTLE. that;s the CITY ZIP

    but they are within the POLITICAL boundary of the city of burien.

    if a crime occurred there, SEATTLE POLICE would not investigate. King county would (since the city of burien contracts with them for police services).

    a search warrant there would list the home address as 186XX 4 av s CITY OF BURIEN

    despite the fact the MAIL would be addressed to "CITY OF SEATTLE" or "SEATTLE" due to the 98148 area code

    people at the house might think they live seattle. but they don't
    hth

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    No snark, both of those comments are helpful and informative, thank you.

    I'm going to try to follow-up on this story and see if I can get more details. Pickings are slim at the moment, and it doesn't seem like police are talking.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Maybe if Reason were more friendly to cops you would have an easier time getting inside info.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    How friendly do you think I might have to be in order to get that info?

    I don't think most cops I call have any idea what Reason is, or how harsh we can be in police. I suspect in this case the incident is way too fresh.

  • ||

    God I certainly hope not "Lobster Girl friendly"

  • ||

    no problem

    i've had people who have lived at an address 20 yrs. they call the cops. they look at my patch. "but you are X police... we live here. this is city of Y"

    "ma'am, its CITY of X, its POST OFFICE delivery code of Y"

    very common

  • ||

    imo, if cops do a no-knock WITHOUT proper justification and documentation, that should be an automatic money payout. and of course- the door.

    Prison time for the invaders, compensation from the officers' salaries/pensions/union coffers, and immunity from prosecution for anyone inside who decided to shoot back.

    But it's good to see you taking these small steps in the right direction.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    if cops do a no-knock WITHOUT proper justification and documentation,

    Justifiable homicide. Plus legal fees and damages.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    For a while you were passing the Turing Test, not so much now.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Wow, Lucy. By that standard half of Daily Kos commenters don't pass the TT.

  • Juice||

    "They’re supposed to be on our side,” he said.

    Uh uh, pal. You're on the wrong side now! you black hat wearing criminal!

  • Whahappan?||

    Unfortunately, (and dunphy will deny it) but governmental employees in general, and law enforcement in particular, see it as us vs. them. They view the general public with a combination of fear, loathing and contempt. They see themselves as separate and above the untermensch they rule.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    What do you care what dunphy thinks? If he cannot utilize logic properly then negate him from your communication.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Christ, this has become a sport anymore with more than a few articles I've read including sources stating these scumwaffles are fist-bumping during or after the op.

    You don't want me running a police station. Never. Ever. You run an op that knocks down the wrong door your ass is OUT the door. If I have proof that ANY motherfucker on the squad is fist-bumping your ass is OUT the door.

    Way too much lackadaisical caveman shit going on in police departments which should be run like a polished professional machine upholding ethics, courtesy, and common sense. The officer should be above reproach while on the job. Actual criminals should respect an officer for his/her conduct NOT for their tough guy idiocy.

    If cops want to play they should do this OFF the job, not on it. Problem is, too many chiefs and sheriffs are running shoddy departments because they themselves are authoritarian scum containing zero integrity.

  • riders||

    I am going to ask- Why would you accept a package that is addressed to someone that does not live there? Are you "stealing something" from someone because a package is sent their by accident? Or was the package delivered to the correct address/party but a fake name used in case law enforcement found out about drugs coming there? I'm sorry, but it seems a little strange you would keep this package not addressed to anyone that lives there. Just saying, not everyone is honest and are you really going to have drugs delivered to you in your real name?

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