Denver Cops Raided Legal Cannabis Growers With Grenades, Machine Guns, Armored Vehicles


Three roommates who grew medical marijuana are suing two law enforcement agencies after their rural Conifer home was raided “military-style” with armored vehicles, machine guns and flash grenades.

A year after the raid, none of the three has been charged with a crime, and they have received minimal response from Denver police and Jefferson County sheriff’s officials about why they confiscated $70,000, 28 firearms and a pickup, their attorney said.

“We have heard pretty much silence from the authorities on our requests for further information,” said Rob Corry, an attorney with The Cannabis Law Firm. “Our clients are innocent of any criminal wrongdoing whatsoever. This is a significant amount of property and they’d like to get it back.”

Denver police spokeswoman Christine Downs said the criminal investigation is ongoing and that she could not comment on the lawsuit. Jefferson County sheriff’s officials did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Heavily armed SWAT officers knocked in doors and threw flash grenades during the Jan. 23, 2015, raid, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday. Officers “assaulted” dogs at the “peaceful mountain home” and destroyed more than 350 marijuana plants.

Derek Smith and Shannon Riley, who are engaged, and their roommate Eric Hepper grew medical marijuana and sold it to Vietnam War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as cancer patients, their lawsuit says.

The Colorado constitution allows residents to grow medical marijuana for more than five patients when there is not a dispensary within a reasonable distance from their homes, according to the lawsuit. It also allows residents to grow as many plants as their patients’ doctors recommend.

In a search warrant affidavit, Denver police said they were working with a confidential informant before the raid.

“This is rural Colorado,” Corry said. “There is no law against cash and there is definitely no law against guns.”

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