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August 7, 2004 - The Spokesman-Review (WA)

Drug Raid Hits Wrong Address

Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office Has Incorrect Location On Warrant

By Thomas Clouse, Staff writer

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

The Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office will conduct an internal review of its search warrant policies after a major drug raid this week found nothing but one upset homeowner.

Sheriff Jerry Weeks said the raid Tuesday morning was an unfortunate mistake.

"We had the wrong location," he said. "Occasionally, it happens in law enforcement. But when it happens in a small community like here, it's a big deal."

Kathy Schultz, 50, was at her home at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, which is located off State Route 211 near Sacheen Lake about 35 miles north of Spokane, when she answered her door and found more than a dozen deputies and members of the Washington State Patrol SWAT team.

Her husband, Ken Schultz, wasn't home at the time, but quickly arrived after a phone call alerted him to what was happening.

"They would not let me talk to my wife. They wouldn't give me a copy of the search warrant," he said. "They acted like a bunch of jerks even by the time they realized it was the wrong place."

Kathy Schultz had a gun pointed at her and was extremely upset, he said. "Later, she collapsed, and I had to take her to the hospital."

Weeks said he apologized that day to both Ken and Kathy Schultz.

"There was no ill intent," Weeks said. "I'm sure it was a terrifying experience for Mrs. Shultz. I regret it terribly."

Capt. Fred Fakkema of the WSP said 10 troopers and SWAT team members assisted the Sheriff's Office, just like they had in 14 similar raids.

"The address was wrong on the search warrant. That's why the individual was upset and understandably so," Fakkema said. "We will continue to reach out to that family. We are meeting with them (Friday) to make sure they know what the situation was."

The situation began when investigators learned from two informants that there was a house in the area where suspects were growing and selling marijuana, Weeks said.

Investigators obtained a description and even took aerial photographs of the location of the suspected drug house. The informants looked at the photos and told investigators that they had the right house, Weeks said.

"We are looking at another place that had a very similar appearance in the same general vicinity," Weeks said. "At this point, I can't point a finger because we do rely on outside sources for drug information."

Once the Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant, a prosecutor and judge reviewed the information that included the wrong address. "The prosecutor is physically sick over this," Weeks said. "This is unfortunate. It's the only way I can describe it."

As a result, Weeks said he will conduct an internal review of policies that led to the mistake. "If there is anything in our process to be corrected, we'll do that. There will be some deep introspection here."

Ken Schultz said he doesn't have much faith in the research done by investigators.

"If this is the way they do them all, they are not too smart," Schultz said.

He also complained that the officers yelled expletives at his wife. "These policemen are dressed like soldiers," he said. "If she hadn't opened the door, they probably would have beaten it down."

The raid didn't damage any property, both Weeks and Shultz said.

"It's the first time in 34 years where I had an occasion where this happened," Weeks said. "It's one of those cases where I'm extremely embarrassed, but it was the correct course of action."

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