News Item from Fresno, California, November 29, 2012:
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Several people were detained at a home on Valentine and Olive in West Central Fresno while a search warrant was served.
There was a large law enforcement presence Thursday morning as several different agencies from Fresno and Kings Counties descended on the West Olive property, looking for drugs.
Authorities arrived at the house around 7:30 Thursday morning. They described the property as a large complex with at least five structures, including homes and businesses, on at least four acres.
The Clovis Police Bomb Squad, and officers with the Avenal and Hanford Police Departments assisted in the search of the complex. Authorities said at least five people were detained. Investigators are trying to determine if those people are involved in possible drug activity on the property.
Some neighbors said they have seen a lot of suspicious activity around the property — and it’s not the first time the property has been raided.
“It’s always been that way as long as I’ve lived here — and I’ve lived here 20 years. And this is, I think, the sixth raid on this property here, since I’ve been here,” said Bob Ausburn, neighbor.
Olive Avenue was closed for several hours Thursday morning between Valentine and Brawley while officers searched the home. It has since re-opened.
Officers were still investigating the complex Thursday afternoon.
(Copyright ©2012 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
“Descended on the property, looking for drugs.”
The article doesn’t mention that the police knocked down a locked fence, tore apart several warehouses, found nothing illegal, broke into an expensive private safe, found nothing illegal, and arrested several people on charges as yet unknown and unstated.
Now as it happens, I know both the current and previous owners of the property and I happen to know that the current owner was raided EXACTLY one year ago minus one day at another large “compound” home he owns—this one in Clovis on the opposite site of Fresno. (That prior was November 30, 2011, instead of the 29th… it appears important or at least routine to have these events on a weekday followed by a court day).
http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/11/30/2633178/pot-guns-seized-in-clovis-3-arrested.html (one was a woman, a grandmother, with no criminal record whatsoever against whom no charges were ever even alleged, much less filed)
The scenario was much the same: mass arrests/detentions of American Citizens (no illegals here) without probable cause, seizure of property, and especially the seizure of cash. One individual was targeted in both raids: Herbert Paul Bethel, who has not been charged with any substantial offense in either episode (absolutely nothing in the second one). The simple truth is that Herbert Paul Bethel is the victim of “harassment under color of law.”
The previous owner of the West Olive property, still resident in her long-time home, was arrested and over $30,000.00 in cash seized from her—it happens that the source of this cash was precisely THE SALE OF HER HOME. Alright, so it’s a little bit strange that she kept all the cash on hand, but aside from that “appearance”—no charges against her, nothing illegal about possessing cash, whether it’s “unusual” to do so or not. The current owner of the properties raided last year in Clovis and this year in S.W. Fresno was engaged in the (for California anyhow) legal endeavor of developing a medical marijuana cooperative.
For years and years now, the War on Drugs has been a War on the American People, and it has to stop. How ironic that the “War on Drugs” policy, the brainchild of “Liberal” Republican Governor of New York Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller in the 1960s, has been blindly implemented and extended by “Moderate” Republicans Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, “Moderate” Democrats such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, “Conservative” Republicans such as Ronald Wilson Reagan and George W. Bush, “Compassionate Conservative” advocate of the New World Order George H.W. Bush, and radical Marxist-Socialist (barely closeted communist) Barack Hussein Obama equally and without hesitation or intermission.
According to my friend in Fresno who has now the dubious distinction of being raided TWICE at the end of two successive Novembers, 2011 and 2012, at opposite (NE and SW) corners of Fresno, no fewer than 70 officers were involved in this latest raid. Is unemployment that bad in Fresno that they have to resort to rounding up the ruffians and putting them in uniform to harass the people? At least the Nazis in Germany did this with some style: torchlight parades at night and massive spectacles in sports arenas.
It has now been six years since the publication Radley Balko’s excellent paper:
OVERKILL: RISE OF PARAMILITARY POLICE RAIDS IN AMERICA (http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/balko_whitepaper_2006.pdf), prepared and distributed by the Cato Institute as a “White Paper”. The Cato Institute helped bring my case, Atwater v. Lago Vista before the United States Supreme Court, where freedom and the constitution and reasonable restraints on police action all lost 5-4. But Ironically, the seventh case I had filed against the City of Lago Vista that ultimately led to my demise as an attorney-at-law in Texas was about an early battering ram incident in that sleepy little suburb of Austin during the first Clinton administration…. a wrong address—no compensation ever paid.
WHY ARE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES STANDING BY AND ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN? WHY ARE WE NOW ALMOST 50 YEARS INTO ALLOWING THE WAR ON DRUGS TO TRUMP ALL OTHER AMERICAN VALUES OF TRUTH, JUSTICE, FREEDOM, AND TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLE OF CIVILIZED SOCIETY EMBODIED IN THE FOURTH AMENDMENT THAT:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…..