Attorney: Authorities went too far in drug bust

May 29, 2009 4:29:48 PM PDT
A lawyer representing suspects arrested in a major drug bust claim authorities overstepped their bounds. It's the latest development in a massive drug bust operation we first told you about Wednesday where dozens were arrested for suspected steroid use and other drugs. These accusations are coming from a defense attorney who says he's representing four of those busted in that massive steroids roundup earlier this week.

Attorney Steven "Rocket" Rosen says officers crossed an ethical and a legal line while arresting two of them.

"In this country, in this society, in this community, you're still innocent until proven guilty," said Rosen.

Outside the Ft. Bend County Courthouse Friday, Rosen blasted some of the deputies and officers who were, on Wednesday, part of the largest narcotics bust in Fort Bend County history.

Body builders, trainers, business owners, even a fireman, were among those arrested. One by one, they were taken to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds to be booked. They are accused of distributing hundreds of thousands of doses of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone, among other controlled substances.

Rosen claims officers, who had arrest warrants, searched some suspects' homes, though without ever obtaining search warrants.

"They had no right to search the home," Rosen said. "They had absolutely no right to search the homes. They had no right to rummage through the home. They had no right going upstairs."

What's more, Rosen insists, the officers used excessive force in conducting the arrests of two of his clients, breaking down doors and in one case, with guns drawn, forced a suspect's wife and 3-year-old daughter against a wall.

Rosen wouldn't reveal the names of his clients so authorities couldn't comment on specific arrests, but generally, the chief Fort Bend County narcotics prosecutor says on felony charges like these, officers are allowed to forcibly enter a home, that they can do what's necessary immediately to neutralize any potential threat.

"These are felony arrest warrants," said prosecutor Mark Hanna. "These officers don't know exactly what they're going to find when they go into each house, so they are handled very seriously."

Hanna acknowledges that there were no search warrants sought in any state case, so any evidence seized, he says, would generally have been only in an officer's plain sight or something found if a suspect gave consent to search.

The sheriff's office refused to comment on these allegations. A DEA spokesperson similarly said only, "We hold our people to the highest standards. If this did happen, it will be investigated."

Many of those arrested are scheduled to appear in court June 8.

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