The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion This week in drug raids: Massachusetts edition

FBI agents and local police apparently just conducted a violent and fruitless drug raid on a home in Quincy, Mass. But none of the agencies involved will talk about it.

A Quarry Street couple says they have no idea why FBI agents rammed down their door and ransacked their townhouse in a surprise raid Tuesday evening.
The couple, who were not arrested and asked that their name not be published, said around 18 FBI agents and Quincy police officers rushed into their house around 6 p.m. and rummaged through their belongings for several hours with little explanation. Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Boston office, confirmed that FBI agents were at 48 Quarry St. Tuesday night but would only say that agents were “conducting court authorized activity in connection with an ongoing federal investigation.”
One of the men who live in the townhouse, which he said they’d rented since December, said he was watching TV in the living room when he heard a crash as several agents with a battering ram burst through the door. He said some of the agents threw him to the ground and handcuffed him while others dragged his partner from an upstairs bathroom.
The man said the agents repeatedly ordered him to tell them where they were keeping their drugs, saying that two people had told them that drugs were being dealt out of the home. That man denied that he and his partner were dealing drugs and said the agents never found any in the home.
The man said the agents spent about three and half hours at the apartment, ripping their belongings out of drawers and closets, pulling paintings from walls and slicing open envelopes and luggage.

The local police department isn’t talking either. Apparently, the FBI left behind a search warrant that included the home’s address, but almost nothing else. For specifics, the warrant referred to attachments that the FBI didn’t provide to the home’s occupants. No word on whether the agents were wearing masks.

In other Massachusetts drug raid news, the family of Eurie Stamps has settled with the town of Framingham for $3.75 million. In 2011, Stamps was killed in his own home when a drug raid team broke down his door. They actually found the suspect they were looking for outside the home — Stamps’s 20-year-old stepson. They raided the place anyway. During the course of the raid, one officer later said he inadvertently fired his gun while pointing it at Stamps’s head as Stamps was lying on his floor with his hands over his head. Stamps was unarmed, and wasn’t suspected of any crime.

Finally . . .

Eighty-one-year-old grandmother Margaret “Peg” Holcomb is still in a huff after state police and the National Guard deployed ground troops and a helicopter at her Amherst home and chopped down the 6-foot-tall marijuana plant growing out back with her raspberries.
“It’s ridiculous,” Holcomb told me yesterday. “This is not what happens in a democratic society. We don’t have people flying over us and watching us, then coming and invading our property. It’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment and not speaking out would be a violation of the First Amendment, as far as I’m concerned.”
Peg has grown a single pot plant in her backyard for years to keep her glaucoma under control. But two weeks ago, she and her plant were the targets of an annual “marijuana eradication operation” the staties and the guard conduct in western Massachusetts.
“I’ve grown marijuana for many years — one plant. I don’t sell it. I don’t talk about it. Some people drink wine at night, occasionally I’ll have a little smoke,” the retired homemaker said at her kitchen table, covered in a red and white checked tablecloth.

I know I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that this monster is off the streets.