HPD WARRANT: Informant didn't buy drugs from suspects killed in police shootout

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A confidential informant didn't buy drugs at the southeast Houston home where a botched police raid turned into a deadly shootout last month, according to a new search warrant.

The shocking new information was revealed today after ABC13 obtained two of several search warrants executed as part of the ongoing investigation following the deadly raid.

The search warrant clearly shows the initial information used to obtain the no-knock search warrant involved a number of lies.

In the original warrant obtained on Jan. 28, the lead case agent, Officer Gerald Goines, wrote that a confidential informant bought heroin at the house the day before the drug raid. The informant also allegedly saw heroin and a weapon, which appeared to be a 9mm handgun, as he was buying the suspected drugs at the house.

In that warrant, the informant allegedly returned to Goines with a brown powder substance, telling him that it was called "boy," which is slang for heroin. The confidential informant also said the substance he allegedly bought at the home was packed in a large quantity of plastic baggies.

All of that information was written in the search warrant, leading a judge to find probable cause and signing it.

Rhogena Nicholas, 58, and Dennis Tuttle, 59, were both killed in the raid at their home at 7815 Harding St. Four HPD officers were shot and a fifth officer injured his knee.

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But on Friday, in the warrants executed by officers investigating the botched raid, it is clear that no confidential informant ever went to the house on 7815 Harding. In fact, all informants who worked with Goines told investigators they did not go in that home.

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"We know we've had a criminal violation already," Chief Acevedo said about the internal investigation of officers involved in the botched raid.

Investigators returned to Goines for the names of more informants, who had all worked for Goines in the past. They all denied making a buy for Goines at the home. They also denied ever buying drugs from Nicholas or Tuttle.

The warrant shows that two bags of heroin were found in Goines' city vehicle.

An officer who has been temporarily relieved of duty told investigators he'd never seen the bags of heroin. However, that contradicts the original warrant indicating that same officer did recognize the substance purchased by the confidential informant as heroin. The original warrant is what led to the raid at the home on Harding.

"We know that a crime has been committed. It's a serious crime," said Acevedo, who is referring to clear lies in the original warrant. "When we go into someone's home, which is the sanctity in someone's home, it has to be truthful. It has to be honest. It has to be absolutely factual. So, we know there's a crime that's been committed. There's a high probability that there will be a criminal charge."

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On Friday, the Houston Police Officers' Union released the following statement about the incident:

The HPOU has received several media inquiries and have seen documents on media websites regarding the Harding Street incident, but the HPOU is not the ones conducting the investigation. The HPOU will comment as soon as the Department officially releases any details of the investigation or confirms the documents posted on media websites are accurate.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said that he's receiving periodic briefings about the investigation from Acevedo, and says he wants a "full and complete investigation."

"I'm going to reserve my comments until the investigation is complete. But we want to make sure that we do a full and complete investigation and that we do it as quickly as possible, and the facts will speak for themselves," Mayor Turner said.

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[ SEE FULL WARRANT ]

According to a search warrant return obtained first by ABC13 on Feb. 8, police recovered four guns, about 18 grams of marijuana and about 1.5 grams of cocaine after the raid.

The weapons they recovered included a Beretta shotgun, a Winchester rifle and a Remington shotgun and rifle, according to the report.

The investigation is ongoing.

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