Children victims in raid on drug suspects - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Children victims in raid on drug suspects

By Theresa Schmidt

What happens when children are caught up in a world in which their parents are allegedly involved in drug dealing.  Police procedure was questioned by a grandmother in DeQuincy this week when her two small grandchildren were in the house raided by police and sheriff's deputies.

Grandmother Sue Berzas considers it an outrage.  "I heard a big boom and jumped up to run to my room and that's when they busted through my door, screaming and hollerin for me to get on the floor. I didn't know what was going on."  She says it was terrifying for sue berzas when a swat team burst into her home to arrest her three sons and nephew. Everyone was asleep including her two year old granddaughter and eight year old grandson with cerebral palsey. "They could've really done some damage to my grandchild, you know. That cannister could've hit him in the head, anything, glass flying could've just, they could've ended up killing my grandchild."

Yet, Calcasieu Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory says it's the suspects who are to blame. "It's really unfortunate in this situation that these people chose to put their young kids in the middle of drug trade. Guillory explains the element of surprise is critical for officer safety and to preserve evidence. We feel like this raid was a successful raid because nobody got hurt."

Guillory says swat teams are used only in the most dangerous cases where there's a high risk of a violent confrontation. "These are people who have extensive, very extensive criminal histories. Put all four of these guys together and there are forty arrests involved."

In fact, Guillory says storming the house while all were sleeping helped to protect the children. "If we would've had to exchange gunfire with one or two of these guys there's no telling who could've been shot. Either law enforcement or the kids or the bad guy." Guillory says the law recognizes the harm of putting children in the midst of criminal activity. That's why the four arrested for dealing crack cocaine were also booked for illegal drug possession in the presence of children. 

Guillory says at least two of the suspects were arrested in connection with the theft of more than twenty guns in post hurricane looting. Tonight,  all four men remain in the Calcasieu jail.

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