$5 million lawsuit over La Grande, Oregon drug raid

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of La Grande and Union County Oregon, as well as two police officers and one deputy from the same jurisdictions. The civil litigation suit seeks damages of over $5 million in connection with two drug raids on a La Grande home.

The two drug raids resulted in the arrests of the plaintiffs, as well as the seizure of firearms, cash, and marijuana. The judge later dismissed the charges and the seized property--except for the marijuana--was returned to the owners.

The plaintiffs say life has been "hell" since the first drug bust in 2006 and the now seven-year drama has taken all of their life savings. Instead of taking a plea bargain, they chose to fight the charges and won.

The first drug raid happened in January 2006. The lawsuit alleges that one of the officers named as a defendant in the suit drew his firearm at one of the plaintiffs and threatened to shoot him, while another officer beat the other plaintiff with a phone book in the ribs. The couple was arrested, but later released with drug charges.

The second drug raid happened a week later. The search warrant indicated the police were specifically looking for marijuana plants, which they did not find. Two stolen guns were recovered though and the plaintiffs were arrested. By November in 2008, all charges were dismissed. One of the plaintiffs had a federal dealer license for firearms and the other had a license for growing medical marijuana.

The lawsuit alleges the officers obtained the search warrants fraudulently by making false statements about an interview with a drug suspect prior to the first raid. Two of the defendants have had their law enforcement certifications revoked by the state for misconduct.

If you feel you have been the victim of malicious prosecution, contact an experienced attorney to learn more about your options. You may have a civil case against the officer, the law enforcement agency and the city or county where he or she is employed.

Source:  bendbulletin.com, "La Grande drug raids prompt $5M lawsuit" Kelly Ducote, May. 18, 2013

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