Several hours after a Northeast woman complained to police that drug dealers were doing busines in front of her home, she found the police at her house -- they were raiding it looking for illegal drugs.
Veronica Williams said they raided the wrong house. The police said they had watched a police informant "entering" the house and returning with drugs. On the night of the raid they found no illegal drugs at Williams' house.
The incident, which occurred last Friday, took place in the 600 block of Morton Place NE, a narrow, one-block long street that is known to police and residents as an active cocaine market.
"I am not a drug dealer and I do not use drugs," said Williams, a 26-year-old unemployed legal secretary who worked at the Department of Justice until last June. "I'm one of the good guys. I call the police all the time to come here and help us get these drug dealers off our block."
Williams said she went to dinner last Thursday and returned home about midnight to find a police officer standing on her porch. Inside was a mess.
"They really tore my house up," she said. "My couch was tipped over, the pictures were all pulled off the wall. All the food was taken out of the freezer and the flour and the baking soda were poured out into the sink."
Upstairs she said she found all her clothes tossed on her bed. File cabinets and storage boxes had been emptied, she said.
Police and court records as well as interviews with neighbors indicate that Williams has never been involved with illegal activities.
The search warrant for the raid was obtained by an officer in the Second District, which is west of Rock Creek Park. Williams' house is in the Fifth District. The warrant also described the house to be raided as red brick. Williams' house is beige brick.
In an affidavit in support of the search warrant, which was issued Jan. 8, Officer Sharon McInnis stated that she had watched a "confidential source entering" Williams' house. She said the source returned and gave her a packet of white powder that the source said had been purchased from a black male in the house. The white powder was tested at the stakeout and identified as cocaine, the affidavit said.
Second and Fifth District police officers raided Williams' house and a second Morton Place address early Friday morning.
At the second address, 612 Morton Place, they made one arrest and seized some suspected cocaine, police said.
Police officers often obtain search warrants after watching paid informants, who are usually drug addicts, buy drugs, according to vice officers.
Capt. Charles Bacon, acting deputy chief of the Fifth District, said he was unfamiliar with the raid at Williams' house. But he said police sometimes raid the wrong house.
"Drug purchases are made by special employes who are not police officers," he said. "They go to one location and give the address of another one. He could be off by one house easily. And there is always the possibility of the address being entered on the warrant wrong."
Williams said that she had visited the Fifth District a week before the raid and complained to Sgt. Martin Wishnefsky about the drug dealers. Wishnefsky said yesterday he did not recall her visit.
The following week, a few hours before the raid, Williams said she spoke to a detective who asked if the police could use her house to watch drug activities. Williams said she refused out of fear.
Richard Williams, a 40-year resident of Morton Place who is unrelated to Veronica Williams, said he thinks the police raided the wrong house. "She fusses at those dealers because they stand in front of her house," he said.
Williams, who was still sorting through her belongings, said earlier this week, "I think I'm going to move from here. Every time I hear a noise, I think it's the cops busting through the door again."