Drug Policy

Doubts About Dog-Slaughtering Drug Raid

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Police are starting to express some doubt about the violent drug raid on Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo, his wife, and her mother after they were mailed a package containing marijuana:

The raid, conducted jointly with county police narcotics officers, took place after officers saw Calvo bring a package containing more than 30 pounds of marijuana from his front porch into his house. They had been tracking the package since police dogs sniffed out the presence of drugs at a shipping facility in Arizona.

The package was addressed to Trinity Tomsic, Calvo's wife. But law enforcement sources said last week that they are now investigating the possibility that the mayor and his wife were unwitting recipients and that a deliveryman might have intended to intercept the package as part of a drug smuggling scheme.

The package landed on Calvo's doorstep after police posing as deliverymen brought it to the door and Calvo's mother-in-law asked that it be left on the porch. Police recovered the unopened package from the home Tuesday night but made no arrests. Calvo has said he was interrogated for hours while handcuffed and surrounded by the bloody bodies of his dogs.

So far there have been no arrests, and the police seem to be backing down from the idea that the mayor and his wife are drug dealers.  If it's true that they aren't, I'm sure we'll soon hear lots of apologies to the mayor for not being more careful and thorough, given his esteemed position.

The real question is whether there will be any discussion over the appropriateness of sending a SWAT team into any private home, handcuffing the occupants at gunpoint, and slaughtering the family pets—all over the mere receipt of a mailed package of weed.   I doubt it.

Even if hizzoner turns out to be guilty, it's always worth contextualizing these cases:  We've reached the point where it's commonplace for the government to wage violent, confrontational invasions of private homes over the suspicion of possession of the dried leaves of a plant.

NEXT: If Using Drugs Is Not a Crime, Neither Is Helping People Use Drugs

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  1. hehehe.

    Ha.

    Hahahahha.

    AHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!

  2. The war on drugs has gotten to be such a ludicrous issue its almost not even worth talking about anymore. Radley’s pieces are some of my favorites on Reason, yet are the most depressing as there seems to be no recourse for the wrongs they are written about. All I get from informing myself is a horrible feeling of impotence.

  3. The fact that a politician got (mistakenly?) raided will not be viewed as a wake up call; it will be viewed by the police as a fuck-up involving a person with power. They will apologize profusely, salve the politician’s ego however necessary, and the politician will be satisfied because his position and power has been acknowledged.

    The only way this type of thing can change things is if the politician is genuinely concerned about the actual act and not the fact that he should be immune. There’s a huge difference between “how is this allowed to occur” and “how is this allowed to occur to me?”

  4. I wondered when this story would get posted.

    This one is full of the standard justifications offered up by the police. Had to shoot the dogs (black labs) because the deputies “felt threatened”. Had to use a no-knock warrant served up by SWAT since there was all those drugs. What they didn’t explain was why they needed the no-knock since they KNEW what was in the package since THEY delivered it. Even if it had been destroyed, so what.

    Apparently, if you want to get someone in big trouble, maybe shot by the police, just send a package containing weed to them via the mail or UPS. The recipient need not know a thing about it and even it they call the police and say “Hey someone sent me a package of weed, please come and get it” the outcome may not be what you think. BTW, drop a dime on the shipment before it arrives for maximum effect.

  5. Weeds 2: Weeds goes to Washington…

  6. The real question is whether there will be any discussion over the appropriateness of sending a SWAT team into any private home, handcuffing the occupants at gunpoint, and slaughtering the family pets-all over the mere receipt of a mailed package of weed.

    Yup. That’s the question all right. We all know the answer to that. The question then becomes, will anybody besides Radley Balko even bother to ask the question?

  7. Funny how you never hear about the family cats being murdered. Those things have very sharp claws, and they’re unpredictable, not to mention finicky.

  8. The only way this type of thing can change things is if the politician is genuinely concerned about the actual act and not the fact that he should be immune.

    Agreed. Imagine the shitstorm that a raid on Barney Frank’s house would create? It’s enough to tempt one into mailing a package of weed to Congressman Frank while he’s on vacation then tipping off the cops.

  9. No messing with Barney Frank. He’s one of the only ones with any sense on this issue.

    And is anyone actually surprised to (a) learn that the raid was probably bogus, and (b) see that they’re continuing to defend shooting the dogs?

  10. No messing with Barney Frank. He’s one of the only ones with any sense on this issue.

    That’s why he’d be the target of my cunning plan.

  11. I remain at a loss to explain law enforcement’s and, by extension, the public’s thinking on this stuff. A SWAT raid for 20 measly lbs of reefer?
    What the fuck are these people thinking?
    Did the cops have any idea how long it takes to flush 20 pounds of weed?
    Did the cops think that the fucking mayor was going to open fire on them?
    Would this even be news if the victims were young minority males or [gasp!] musicians?
    Will any LEOs be disciplined? Or will we be hearing, “it’s not our fault, we followed the procedures” leaving aside the uncomfortable fact that they wrote the procedures yet again?

    The War on Drugs Sanity continues and sanity is getting its ass kicked.

  12. Might not hurt to suggest to the mayor that this be an issue that he, as one in a position of power, could help bring to the public’s attention.

    Cheye Calvo’s email: ccalvo@town.berwyn-heights.md.us

    Berwyn Heights phone/mailing info is here

  13. The raid, conducted jointly with county police narcotics officers,

    So, there were two law enforcement agencies that signed off on this idiocy.

    So far there have been no arrests

    I’m not surprised. They never arrest cops who commit multiple crimes “in the line of duty”.

  14. Part of the problem is that the greater US populace views themselves as 2 classes of people: citizens and criminals. The criminals always get whats coming to them. If you are raided by the police, you are a criminal. Citizens never get raided by police, the police are there to protect the citizens from the criminals.

    People are assumed to be guilty the very moment law enforcement becomes interested in them. This is because the police never make mistakes, and if they do hurt a few innocent people in the process that’s just collateral damage to ensure the greater good. Citizens need to be protected from criminals, at any cost.

  15. my cunning plan

    I don’t think Barney is interesting in your cun… oh, wait, you said cunning. Nevermind.

  16. They never arrest cops who commit multiple crimes “in the line of duty”.

    Fighting abuse of power with hyperbole? Come on. 🙂

  17. Funny how you never hear about the family cats being murdered. Those things have very sharp claws, and they’re unpredictable, not to mention finicky.

    Never?

  18. You mean, people who want to smoke pot might find some other way of obtaining it than ordering THIRY GODDAM FUCKING POUNDS OF THE STUFF through the mail?

    Really? You thugs had to kill some fucking dogs to come up with that scenario?

  19. Regarding “dried leaves of a plant”, a minor correction: the package probably contained 20 lbs of buds, the flowering structure of female cannibas sativa. Only really desperate high school students smoke the leaves.

  20. Apparently, if you want to get someone in big trouble, maybe shot by the police, just send a package containing weed to them via the mail or UPS.

    …unless the person is smart enough not to accept unexpected packages. There are many unrelated reasons to be suspicious of thirty pound boxes with no return address arriving in the mail.

  21. Maybe it’s not the marijuana they care about, maybe the whole Drug War is just an excuse to shoot dogs.

  22. “…just an excuse to shoot dogs.”

    It must be. Large armored men have little to fear from any dog.

  23. There are many unrelated reasons to be suspicious of thirty pound boxes with no return address arriving in the mail.

    Precisely, namely, that it’ll contain thirty pounds of marijuana, already being tracked by police or Federal agents so they can use your animals and home in a free-fire exercise.

  24. Had to shoot the dogs (black labs) because the deputies “felt threatened”.

    Well the bastards had to shoot something! After all, they have these really neat guns and what’s the point of fancy toys if you can play with them sometimes? Those fuckers are always “in fear for my life”; it’s their standard whine. Looks to me like the wrong sons-of-bitches got shot.

  25. Why can’t they just taze the dogs?

  26. Contrary to what Occam’s Toothbrush say’s he believes (he doesn’t really), there is little reason for most people to refuse any package that is sent any method other than COD. Unless you have some reason to think somebody would send you a bomb or try to poison you (specifically, or at random), why would you want to reject that cool gift your friends sent as a suprise. Accepting an unmarked package, that happens to contain drugs, constitutes proof of something? This case disproves that, or at least appears to at this time. The mayors wife should go to jail, right?

  27. This is why machine guns and grenades should be legal to own. That way you might at least stand a chance when the pigs come to kill your dogs.

  28. There are many unrelated reasons to be suspicious of thirty pound boxes with no return address arriving in the mail.

    So put a return address on it of someone else that you think would benefit from a SWAT raid.

    “Mayor, there’s a box here from the DA.”

    Besides, my wife and I do so much shopping over the intertubes half the time I can’t remember what hasn’t come yet, so I accept everything, even if I don’t know/can’t remember what it is supposed to be.

  29. bigbigslacker,

    If she weren’t the mayors wife she probably would go to jail.

  30. “We’ve reached the point where it’s commonplace for the government to wage violent, confrontational invasions of private homes over the suspicion of possession of the dried leaves of a plant.”

    This is not the country I was taught to esteem in high school civics class back in the 70s. Back then, only the bad guys – our enemies from past wars, and the still running cold war – behaved this way toward their enslaved, terrorized subject peoples.

  31. Perhaps we “civilians” ought to start fearing for our lives when we see cops. I, for one, am usually aprehensive around them.

  32. This is not the country I was taught to esteem in high school civics class back in the 70s.

    Hmm. Was that a government-run high school?

  33. Couldn’t someone write this man a letter and ask,

    “Sir, how do you feel about the fact that many people in this country lose more than their dogs to mistaken raids like this, and in almost all cases have no recourse to justice? Your pets join a large number of innocent men women and children lost to unnecessary use of paramilitary raids in the “investigation” of nonviolent crimes. (link to Balko’s cato study)”

    I mean, for fucks sake. Someone should write the local paper at least.

  34. Someone should send some pot to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

    This type of nonsense really makes me want to start up a pot farm and send oodles to every politician and cop in the country. “Sure that isn’t your pot occifer. It just happens to be sitting on your doorstep in a package addressed to your Donutship.”

  35. Couldn’t someone write this man a letter and ask,

    Yes. Write him another letter. Contact info is here.

  36. As it is in a suburb of Washington DC (next to College Park, MD), I’d suggest writing the Washington Post. 😛

  37. Unless you have some reason to think somebody would send you a bomb or try to poison you (specifically, or at random), why would you want to reject that cool gift your friends sent as a suprise.

    Every great man has enemies, and I am no exception.

  38. “””Only really desperate high school students smoke the leaves.”””

    Try Jr. high or grade school.

  39. Here’s a relevant question…

    How much longer are you long-winded ass-sitters going to loaf around pontificating instead of actually doing something honorable about this?

    Going to to wait until they shoot *your* dogs, or maybe a couple members of your family? Going to just “hang tough” until a member of your family is coerced into an untenable situation with a violent dealer the government CREATED THE ENTIRE MARKET FOR?

    Oh, wait. you’re *comfortable*. [fumes]

    Our government is OUT OF CONTROL. They are NOT serving us. They are FUCKING us.

  40. Shooting dogs on one hand and on the other, one of the major reasons for police being killed are other nervous police officers in raids like this. More are killed by fellow (nervous) cops than by the perps. Most of these raids are overreaction and that’s when they go before a judge to be vetted and approved.

    PG County cops have always had a reputation as a bunch of cowboys, with the Greenbelt cops the worst of the cowboy groups in the county. Saw them once try to accuse a person walking a barking dog of being a Peeping Tom. Yep, next time I want to be a Peeping Tom, I’ll take my Scotties to announce my presense. (“Sorry, lady, the dogs wanted to watch too.”)

  41. Most outrageous thing I have ever heard, Hitler would love it as this is how he trained his Gastopo to act. It is time to act against this abuse.

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