Gotcha

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Like Mark Draughn, I’ve been somewhat skeptical of Barry Cooper, the former drug cop turned pitchman for how-to-beat-the-cops videos. He comes off as more of a huckster than a principled whistle-blower, which I think does the good ideas he stands for (police reform) more harm than good.

But damn. I have to hand it to him. This might be one of the ballsiest moves I’ve ever seen.

KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster’s attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster’s secret mobile office nearby.

To clarify just a bit, according to Cooper, there was nothing illegal going on the bait house, just two evergreen trees and some grow lamps. There was no probable cause. So a couple of questions come up. First, how did the cops get turned on to the house in the first place? Cooper suspects they were using thermal imaging equipment to detect the grow lamps, a practice the Supreme Court has said is illegal. The second question is, what probable cause did the police put on the affidavit to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant? If there was nothing illegal going on in the house, it’s difficult to conceive of a scenario where either the police or one of their informants didn’t lie to get a warrant.

Cooper chose to bait the Odessa police department because he believes police there instructed an informant to plant marijuana on a woman named Yolanda Madden. She’s currently serving an eight-year sentence for possession with intent to distribute. According to Cooper, the informant actually admitted in federal court that he planted the marijuana. Madden was convicted anyway.

The story’s worth watching, not only to see if the cops themselves are held accountable for this, but whether the local district attorney tries to come up with a crime with which to charge Cooper and his assistants.  I can’t imagine such a charge would get very far, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone try.

Here’s some local media coverage:

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107 Responses to “Gotcha”

  1. #1 |  Rick Caldwell | 

    Radley, this just sparked an idea with me. We know Ryan Frederick had grow lights in his detached garage. We also know Steven, the informant in that case, had a grudge against Ryan. We also know that the affidavit for the first warrant says they had been investigating Ryan’s home since November. But Kylie Roberts’ testimony at the grand jury hearing indicated that the investigation entailed driving by the house, where they observed no unusual activity.

    What are the chances that the drive by investigation consisted of nothing more than observing the house with thermal imaging equipment?

  2. #2 |  Greg N. | 

    Assuming the facts are as reported, this is delicious. More of this, please!

  3. #3 |  nobahdi | 

    “Ballsiest move ever” is right, and I really support what Cooper is trying to do here, but this scenario just doesn’t add up.

    Hopefully the cops not wanting to show their warrant is a sign they did something illegal, but I really find it hard to believe even the most crooked cops could catch a grow op in under 24 hours.

  4. #4 |  Joel Rosenberg | 

    It’s entirely possible that the cops got PC without there being anything actually illegal going on in the house. Things that aren’t crimes — particularly if they’re intended to look like they’re crimes — can generate PC.

    But lazy, corrupt cops might well, err, invent something . . .

    Watch the badgelickers got ballistic . . .

  5. #5 |  Chris K. | 

    So happy to see this. Now the punishment should fit the crime. Breaking the law under the color of law should carry a death sentence.

  6. #6 |  Marty | 

    ENTRAPMENT… of the cops, finally!

  7. #7 |  Turnabout is fair play « My Dumb Links | 

    [...] is fair play By joestevens42 Cops get baited into raiding a house where they likely didn’t have probable [...]

  8. #8 |  Windypundit | 

    Yeah, it’s entirely possible that this is a case of act-like-a-drug-dealer-get-treated-like-a-drug-dealer, but if the cops made up some of the act-like-a-drug-dealer stuff and Cooper’s people can prove it, that would be perjury.

    But is that a big deal? With nobody’s life or freedom hanging in the balance, will anyone besides us care that the cops lied? (Assuming that’s what happened.) Or will this be spun as a disgruntled former cop and his drug-using friends wasting police resources?

  9. #9 |  claude | 

    Awesome. I hope this was a lead story on every news channel in the area it occured. I had this idea for a while too. I wanted to grow tomatoes under those lights and see what happened. Havent done it yet. Someday tho…

  10. #10 |  mjc | 

    How did the cops find out about this grow house in such a short about of time? The talk of FLIR cameras implies they had the lights and plants out of public view, which maintains their expectation of privacy, but what would make them go looking in thefirst place?
    I suspect the Kop Busters were the “confidential informant”. It’s simple, they set up the bait and then make the anonymous call themselves, so they know the cops will come and they can film they’re show they worked hard to set up.
    That’s still no excuse for the cops to break the law, and this kind of accountability is just what we need to keep the crooked cops in line.

  11. #11 |  Ganja Blue | 

    There’s more coming. Barry Cooper has already had to pretty successful Never Get Busted videos, I own both. “Kopbusters” isn’t just a one time incident. Cooper wants to take the show across the country catching dirty cops and posting webisodes to his upcoming website. I’m going to email him and ask him to make a trip to Chesapeake, VA, Lima, OH and Atlanta, GA. Something tells me that he’ll have no shortage of material for his show, especially here in the deep south.

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    What would also be kind of nice is if there was some gadget that a person could use to download data off their own “black box” that is in many vehicles now. That way if a cop says he pulled u over for speeding, a simple USB device could capture the data from the car and prove u werent. Im not exactly sure what all these black boxes do, but i know data has been taken off them b4 after a crash and the box contained certain information.

  13. #13 |  Chris | 

    I agree that this guy seems to be out to make a buck or two off his videos, but hey – that’s just fine with me.

    The sting he performed here should be – and I hope, WILL BE – duplicated many, many times over the country. Imagine the effect it will have on police. If they have even a small suspicion that they might be caught faking evidence and being put on YouTube as a result, they will probably decide to forgo the raid and keep their pension safe. Imagine how many raids this will prevent if others copy this method of sting and it becomes widespread. I’m behind this method 100% and hope it continues.

    Now I want to see the footage! Someone please post a link if they find one. : )

    (Heck. I’d even be tempted to pay for a DVD of that raid, just to se the look on the faces of the officers when they realized they had been caught. Priceless.)

  14. #14 |  Edintally | 

    #12 I’m no expert but I believe there is equipment you can put in your car that will then transmit the data to a safe location (probably limited by distance of course).

    Thanks again Radley. This should get interesting :)

  15. #15 |  T-Luv | 

    FLIR is not illegal. The police can use it, but they can’t go fishing. They have to have credible information from an informant and they can use FLIR to verify the information. It’s not completely illegal, but it sounds like they broke the law in this case.

  16. #16 |  I’m with Stevens against Scalia for less restrictions on cops « Entitled to an Opinion | 

    [...] restrictions on cops Posted by teageegeepea under Uncategorized   Radley Balko’s post on an attention-hungry ex-narc reverse stinging drug agents brought me to the Supreme Court [...]

  17. #17 |  Busting drug cops « Muse Free | 

    [...] (Hat Tip: The Agitator) [...]

  18. #18 |  KBCraig | 

    My favorite part of the news clip was when the reporter asked if it wasn’t just a big publicity stunt. Cooper stares at her like she has three eyes, but then he goes into promo mode instead of giving the real answer: “OF COURSE IT WAS! We’re trying to bring publicity to police abuses in the drug war!”

  19. #19 |  R. Murdoch | 

    “It’s a War On Christmas!” -Bill O’Reilly

  20. #20 |  Casey | 

    This sort of thing should be its own reality TV Show, a la “To Catch a Predator”. It would be about 1000x more popular than “Cops”.

  21. #21 |  Marty | 

    windypundit-
    ‘With nobody’s life or freedom hanging in the balance, will anyone besides us care that the cops lied? (Assuming that’s what happened.) Or will this be spun as a disgruntled former cop and his drug-using friends wasting police resources?’

    I think these are good questions and I hope it’s another black eye on the drug war. I have no illusions about whether people will be taking up arms or marching over this… But, I think the time is coming. The federal budget is a big issue to most people and marijuana legalization could go a long way to balancing it.

  22. #22 |  Chris | 

    After reading the forum on the website that created this amusing scenario, I learned that the “Kopbusters” sent in the anonymous tip themselves:

    “They busted the cops by making a fake grow room that pumped out a lot of heat, sent in an anonymous tip, and waited.”

    If that is all it takes to get a person’s house raided, I am truly disgusted with the quality of the police work in this case..

  23. #23 |  Kayak2U Blog » Blog Archive » Turning the tables | 

    [...] Radley Balko follows a group called Kopbusters in their ongoing crusade to expose police corruption:  [...]

  24. #24 |  adamreposa | 

    My name is Adam Reposa. I am an Attorney who was hired by Barry Cooper to assist in protecting his property rights during any raid. I was hired to go to the house, read a book for several hours and then leave. After I left the house I was tackeld 200 yards down the street. ODP breached the door and entered the house within 15 hours of recieving what I believe was an anonymous tip. The contact and initial investigations had all occurred before I was even in Ector County, but as best as I can tell that is all the evidence the Police had acquired when they sought a warrant. So either the Judge is signing warrants with no probable cause which is doubtful, or the Affiant made misrepresentations. OPD released me but kept my ID and my cell phone. We are trying to get a copy of the Affidavit. Feel free to contact me at my office 512.476.0444 or via email adamreposa@yahoo.com

  25. #25 |  Localboy | 

    “But is that a big deal? With nobody’s life or freedom hanging in the balance, will anyone besides us care that the cops lied?”

    Peoples lifes are at stake though. Hopefully that’s the point they go for in the video. If I hear someone break into my house I’ll defend it. It would be hard for me to distinguish the sound of a cop breaking down my door and a criminal.

    I’m really interested to see what happens, because I live about 20 miles from Odessa

  26. #26 |  Frank | 

    I hope someone nails these pigs good.

    And speaking of pigs who should be nailed…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndsrAsPwUZg

  27. #27 |  Frank | 

    Okay, that didn’t work out so well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndsrAsPwUZg

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    “If that is all it takes to get a person’s house raided”

    Well, if its anything like my state, the cops will look at your power consumption, both currently and in the past, in addition to getting all of the neighbors power bills on your block for comparison. It happened to a friend of mine. No, they actually dont need a warrant to get that info either, but they should.

  29. #29 |  SusanK | 

    Thank God they didn’t have a dog at their fake grow-op.

  30. #30 |  Frank | 

    #14 Not limited by distance at all, not as long as you’re willing to pay $60/mo for G3.

  31. #31 |  adamreposa | 

    And to fill in the blanks the logic goes 1. Show cops lied on affidavit 2. Show same pattern in Madden case 3. Get relief in Federal Court. The problem is that the case is 2.5 years old and most if not all of the post-conviction remedies have been exhausted short of a pardon by the U.S. President. I am not the Attorney in Charge and I do not know all of the procedural history or all of the facts but of the little I do know there is cause for ernest concern. The truth is that there is little guidance or structure in the field for narcotics officers and they often cross far afield of their official powers, and when proof of such transegressions is produced it is like pulling teeth to get citizens enamerred of government and authority to give such proof any real meaning. Violations of Constitutional rights are routine in investigations of narcotics dealing.

  32. #32 |  Frank | 

    #9 As cops in various southern state have demonstrated, police can’t tell the difference between tomatoes and MJ. A number of backyard tomato “grow ops” have been raided with valid warrants for MJ.

  33. #33 |  Radley Balko | 

    After reading the forum on the website that created this amusing scenario, I learned that the “Kopbusters” sent in the anonymous tip themselves:

    “They busted the cops by making a fake grow room that pumped out a lot of heat, sent in an anonymous tip, and waited.”

    If that is all it takes to get a person’s house raided, I am truly disgusted with the quality of the police work in this case..

    Agreed. But unfortunately, if Cooper and his assistants did indeed call in the tip themselves, they probably opened themselves up to criminal charges.

  34. #34 |  Lee | 

    I think it all depends what the tip was.

    If they called in and only said, “I think someone is growing something inside that house”. That gives them some wiggle room.

  35. #35 |  claude | 

    Where does it say they called the tip in themselves? That would be a legal problem. Id like to read that tho. Where exactly was that posted?

  36. #36 |  The Ellis County Observer » Blog Archive » Reverse Drug Raids: Playing ‘Gotcha’ w/ Narcs | 

    [...] For more in-depth coverage and the so-far 33 comments, click this link. [...]

  37. #37 |  claude | 

    Ok i think i found the thread.

    “They busted the cops by making a fake grow room that pumped out a lot of heat, sent in an anonymous tip, and waited.”

    http://nevergetbusted.com/ngbbb/about1999.html

  38. #38 |  bir here | 

    Yes. Assuming the facts are as so, kudos and where’s my checkbook so i can donate to KopBusters.

    Fuck corrupt cops… give them 20 years to life.

    Honest, hard working cops, give ‘em $100,000+ a year.

    Anyone who wants to bust people for doing drugs… revoke their citizenship.

    Anyone who is addicted to drugs and wants to stop… get ‘em medical attention.

    California Prison Guards Union… bust ‘em up.

    Thanks for listening.

  39. #39 |  claude | 

    Interesting. The account for their website just got suspended. I tried to go from one page on their forum to another and was greeted with “This Account Has Been Suspended….”.

  40. #40 |  FakeNameJim | 

    If Cooper and his team had the foresight to use disposable cell phones, presumably purchased with cash in circumstances that would make identification by store surveilance difficult, and other techniques to mask their activities against eavesdropping, I doubt they would make such a rookie mistake as to call in a false tip themselves.

    He is an ex-cop with an impressive record of arrests after all so he must know something about evidence gathering and legally skirting the law.

    Or if they did place the call then presumably they would have used disposable cells and any of the many ways to change voices, so there would be a legally-insufficient evidence trail for criminal charges.

  41. #41 |  FakeNameJim | 

    On second thought he’d better watch his back because ditry cops have killed witnesses and other troublemakers in situations like this.

  42. #42 |  Edintally | 

    Frank, good to know, thanks.

    His site is down. dun dun dunnnnnn

  43. #43 |  Edintally | 

    site back up

  44. #44 |  Robin | 

    The reporters almost seemed offended. “What is Cop Busters and what are they trying to do?” Tell us Andy. What are these eccentric loons trying to do! And of course there was no mention as to the specifics of the police misconduct that Cop Busters was alleging.

  45. #45 |  Andrew Williams | 

    The most encouraging part was that the TV reporter assigned to the story indicated on-air that they would be following the Madden story. If they do, then Kopbusters’s job is done. Of course, we all know Tv media suffers from ADHD, so…let’s just say I’m not holding my breath on this one. But damnit, well done, Mr Cooper!

  46. #46 |  Lchase | 

    I must say very interesting! I have wished for this for years. Finally someone to expose the fact that the common man gets steamrolled by police on a daily basis! Makes me wonder how many thousands of other people are wasting valuable tax dollars this very minute incarsarated for a crime they didn’t commit. I need more. KUDOS!~

    When will these corrupt cops do away with barry ? I’ve seen them stoop lower than the drug dealers to get a bust~!
    No doubt theres corruption!!
    Godspeed!

  47. #47 |  Jeremy | 

    “But is that a big deal? With nobody’s life or freedom hanging in the balance, will anyone besides us care that the cops lied?”

    Nobody’s life or freedom? Yolanda Madden may care.

  48. #48 |  Elf Sternberg | 

    Okay, an alternative scenario: they bought lots of growlights and other things quite suddenly, in the same county, from an independent, locally-owned gardening supply shop that usually caters to little old ladies growing petunias. They used a check that clearly identifies their address on it.

    I’ve worked in a place like that and they know what a pot-growing profile looks like. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cooper exploited that– there’s got to be an annual High Times article on how not to arouse the suspicion of a garden supplier, and Cooper just did everything the article said not to do. The garden supplier, suspicious of the transaction, calls the cops and asks, “Does this look right to you?”

    Address is hand, the cops merrily went to work…

  49. #49 |  Troy | 

    Wow, this is sooooo coool. Like someone said, there should be a show that catches crooked cops. I will look forward to see what happens. Is there a post or link to the video for the busted cops?

  50. #50 |  Bob Dobbs | 

    A few people suggested a device that would record how fast your car was going so that you would have proof in case of an illegal ticket. I’m curious to know how many people have been ticketed when they were not speeding? I’ve been ticketed 3 times, and in each time, I was actually going faster than I was ticketed for.

  51. #51 |  Dave | 

    With regards to the statements made during the video about it being a publicity stunt, yes it is. I used to be an activist for a large international environmental pressure group which regularly carries out actions which get a lot of news coverage. The reason they do it is for the coverage. You won’t be able to stop a particular practice immediately, however you can direct the media’s attention towards it and get your message directly to the public. I’m guessing this is little different. There will be people informed about what the Odessa Police Dept is up to and that’s the whole point of the exercise.

  52. #52 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Aside from this case of setting up a sting for the cops, the biggest threat to police misconduct are cameras that are becoming so common that you almost can’t escape them. It won’t be long before cameras are a universal security feature on homes no less common than door locks.

    Everything not caught on video is routinely dismissed. I look forward to the day when everything cops do is on camera. Maybe someday you’ll actually be able to buy a compilation of clips from botched police raids. It could be called “Cops Gone Wild”.

    Of course, I’m not being totally unrealistic. I know that the stuff that happens at the police department will only selectively be recorded on video. And even that will be kept out of the public eye (you know…to protect the privacy of the cops).

  53. #53 |  [root@EGA]# » Blog Archive » links - 20081206 | 

    [...] Paint Your Cat! [PICS] The truth behind Christmas [pic] You can’t do *what* now? prison life is hard … like, really hard! 10 Gadgets For Cheap Holiday Decorating Ars discussion: Is MySQL really this bad? Why Good Developers Are Not Getting 10 times the Pay How do you generate passive income? elance – find freelancers The Remains of Detroit [Photos] Ex-cop turned whistleblower baits local police by renting a house where he uses grow lamps for Chris… [...]

  54. #54 |  OneByTheCee | 

    #22 | Chris
    wrote: “…. If that is all it takes to get a person’s house raided, I am truly disgusted with the quality of the police work in this case..”

    Actually, we should all be concerned if not, outright terrified!

  55. #55 |  “Kop Buster” Claims to Nail Texas Police in Private Sting « JONATHAN TURLEY | 

    [...] For discussion of the story, click here and here and here. [...]

  56. #56 |  claude | 

    “I’ve worked in a place like that and they know what a pot-growing profile looks like. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cooper exploited that– there’s got to be an annual High Times article on how not to arouse the suspicion of a garden supplier, and Cooper just did everything the article said not to do. The garden supplier, suspicious of the transaction, calls the cops and asks, “Does this look right to you?”

    In that same light, i used to live next to a hydro supply shop for many years. The local cops went in there asking for customer lists. The owner told them they could go fuck themselves. Luv ya Christine. LOL

  57. #57 |  claude | 

    “Is there a post or link to the video for the busted cops?”

    There wasnt yesterday, there is today. :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHmP_KtmcB4

  58. #58 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Cops: corrupt or just mind-numbingly stupid ass-clowns?

    Just like the Bush administration…incredible stupidity can look a lot like both corruption and conspiracy.

  59. #59 |  claude | 

    “Cops: corrupt or just mind-numbingly stupid ass-clowns?”

    U mean i have to choose one? I am not permitted to choose both? Please?

  60. #60 |  Marty | 

    most cops are just doing a (hopefully) boring job. obviously, there are aggressive dumbasses, but they’re almost always trying to please their superiors. this bad behavior we’re seeing is usually because of shitty policies and poor management. I think most cops are decent and a few are amazing. this is a tough job to do well. adrenaline junkies aren’t good cops, but the cops shows attract these idiots.
    the drug laws and dumbass policies should be the focus of most of our outrage, imo.
    ‘Cop in the Hood’ by Moskos is a great place to develop empathy for patrol cops and see how things could become better for all…

  61. #61 |  KopBusters bust cops for busting Christmas tree grow operation | Technoccult | 

    [...] More info: The Agitator [...]

  62. #62 |  KopBusters bust cops for busting Christmas tree grow operation at Klintron’s Brain | 

    [...] More info: The Agitator [...]

  63. #63 |  qwints | 

    I was pleasantly surprised by the actions of the cops executing the search warrant. There were no flash bangs, no knocking down the door and no rushing around trying to disorient people.
    After realizing it was a set-up, they didn’t destroy anything or appear particularly angry. If we find out the Kopbusters called in the tip on themselves, I’m going to find it very hard to be made at the OPD.

    On another note, why was Yolanda Madden charged in fed court? Isn’t possession of a controlled substance a state offense?

  64. #64 |  V | 

    One key, if not the only, way to “punish” police is through getting proof that they have “made false statements” on some official police business.

    Afterwards, every time the police testify in court, the prosecutors must turn over such impeachment evidence to the other side, per Supreme Court holdings.
    Effectively, once an officer has this on his record, he can’t appear in court and since false swearing is a crime, generally can no longer be an officer anywhere.

    If Cooper makes sure local defense attorneys know of this (no doubt there) then the officers involved are fucked, and the rest of the force will probably be a lot more careful in the future.

  65. #65 |  nikolai | 

    You can look at this two ways.

    1. Trying to “trick” or “trap” the police is silly, and could get you in trouble, and besides, if you are not doing anything illegal, what do you have to worry about? Besides, if you “bait” the cops, watch out! Of COURSE you will get what you wish for and you will deserve what you get! (I don’t subscribe to this view)

    2. Cops should WELCOME Kop-Busters as a way of “policing” themselves if they have nothing to hide, right? You know, the same rationale they use on us citizens. Turn about is fair play!

  66. #66 |  Jeff | 

    Okee-dokee folks,

    All of this is part of the symptoms that are going on all over America. Corrupt from the top to the bottom. In some places the constabulary took lessons from the Iran Contra Scandal where the CIA imported cocaine courtesy of Noriega and sold it to finance the war against the Nicaraguan Sandanistas and to fund the Iranian’s fight with Saddam. The lesson learned by the local consatbularies is that the drug trade is very lucrative. If the cops are running the drug trade who is gonna stop them?

    Let’s start with a little education. When cops lie under oath it is called testilying. Definitions of Testilying on the Web:

    Testilying is police slang for the practice of giving false testimony against a defendant in a criminal trial, typically for the purpose of …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testilying

    When a cop writes a speeding ticket and writes it for a more serious speeding charge….well that is called a “scratch” ticket. Cute.

    There is an old addage, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That goes for authority as well….there is so much moral turpitude among law enforcement today. Cops bust down doors to places growing/dealing drugs and find a couple of years pay just laying around and yes they help themselves.

    By slowly and incrementally encroaching on civil rights through the use of police, the local and federal governments are de-sensitizing people to the dismantling of constitutional rights. I cannot say whether movies like “Dirty Harry” were intentionally put out there as propaganda, but the possibility exists…..Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas were tests to see how far the government can go….and the tests worked. No dissent for the most part…..the government is free to do as it will. I would be surprised if the cops who raided the house in Odessa even had a search warrant. So the psychological preparation for the totalitarian control of the American people is pretty much complete.

    The practice of taking confiscated property for personal use is also rampant. This is also called theft. Those properties are to be sold at auction and the monies put to good use and not personal use.

    Overloading is the term used to describe the process used in an unconventional warfare, or guerilla warfare movement to stress the existing resources by making false reports to get the police or paramilitary to respond to nothing. This also causes a loss of credibility for the police and military when they over react to a situation and, or become abusive. It can also have serious impacts on the moral of the “enemy”.

    I have worked on some of this stuff in Newton County Missouri and this is what I have found….

    The Sheriff and his deputies supervise the drug trade. The Judges and lawyers are part of the “system”. Attorneys there regularly engage in drug dealing. If you are a law enforcment officer you are pretty much immune from prosecution if you screw up. You may get fired and if things are severe enough you will get a slap on the wrist.

    I even called a buddy of mine, a Federal Marshall, he made inquiries at the DEA. The word back to me was keep a low profile and watch my back because the good old boys down here are “out of control”.

    Getting media coverage is pretty much not gonna happen because the media is controlled, small place, small town, everyone knows everyone. On the local level the local crooks, er, rather the judges and lawyers are in control, and on the national level the Council on Foreign Relations is in control.

    The previous Sheriff and his cronies had/have a place on the creek called the “Wolf’s Den” where the county elite go and have drug parties with no fear of being raided…..seeing as local law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors are in attendance.

    On the theft of confiscated equipment,

    I spoke with a bail bondsman who had attended a raid where one of his skips were suspected to hanging around. When the Sheriff’s department took the place down there were drugs and guns. The drugs were seized and to keep the charges from being more serious from weapons charges the nice and generous deputies allowed the perps to “sign” the guns over to the sheriff’s department on the spot.

    So when it comes down to brass tax I would recommend the use of unconventional tactics to overload the police and get them to expend resources for nothing. The US Army Special Forces studied and utilized many of these tactics and techniques when conducting guerilla warfare against the governments of countries that were “unfriendly” to the US……there are many non-violent techniques to use to “mess” with the powers that are “messing” with you!

    Paladin Press is an excellent resource for a lot of books on this subject…..I am in no way connected with them…..bu remember, do your homework and read the books…..go out and plant plastic MJ plants on public property. Put flour or baking soda in plastic baggies and drop them in places where it would cause concern. There are so many things you can do…..

  67. #67 |  Free Marijuana | 

    I think I’m going to grow some Barley in my upstairs front window with some HID lighting. That way the pigs can look in and see what actually looks like MJ. Perhaps I’ll invite Barry & his friends over with their equipment. I live in a REALLY corrrupt town. FREE MARIJUANA!!!!!

  68. #68 |  SusanK | 

    qwints:
    Possession of a controlled substance is punishable by federal AND state law (double jeopardy doesn’t apply because they are “separate sovereigns”). Usually, the federal system has much harsher penalties and punishes defendants for insisting on having a trial, so more people are likely to plead out just to avoid ridiculously long sentences that can be served anywhere in the country, probably hundreds of miles away from family. States will send things federally when there are proof problems, constitutional violations, or large amounts involved.

  69. #69 |  Afternoon Links. | The Unspun Zone... | 

    [...] Gotcha! [...]

  70. #70 |  Me | 

    FLIR use in this case is not illegal. And the police did the right thing, imo. Someone sends in a tip to a police department of a suspected drug grow location. They get a warrent to investigate. Using a FLIR camera to observe a house is not illegal. They use one, find a lot of heat, probably some other light radiation (UV I’m thinking). Now what produces alot of heat and UV for an extended period of time? Nothing that’s house hold I’m thinking. This sounds like probable cause to raid.

    Also, to the idiot that said they need to do this everywhere: If the police were afraid that everyone did this, and that they might get caught, they might cut down on the number of raids. What if one of their raids was against a pedophile’s home, and they figured it was another set up. They skip the raid, the child molester goes free, and commits more crimes? This guy is a jackass, taking up the police’s valuable time and resources that could be better spent catching real criminals. I hope this guy gets jailtime.

  71. #71 |  Frank | 

    #48 Elf, man! Long time no hear. Welcome to the party.

  72. #72 |  Me | 

    The police are mis-understood. I’d like to see some of you live without them.

  73. #73 |  Kelly | 

    I love it! I’ve always said that there is a very thin line between cops and crooks, but it’s always nice to have corroborating evidence. Those cops should be prosecuted, but it is Texas, so I won’t hold my breath.

  74. #74 |  The Confabulum » Blog Archive » Whither Probable Cause? | 

    [...] Balko has a fascinating post describing how police break the law to prosecute the War on [...]

  75. #75 |  Cops Raid a House to Find Christmas Trees Under a Grow Light: Where’s the Probable Cause Now? | dbluco dot com | 

    [...] link Share and Enjoy: [...]

  76. #76 |  Weed Wisdom | 

    Thanks for posting this!

  77. #77 |  Weed Wisdom » Blog Archive » Cops Fail: Caught On Camera During An Illegal Raid (VIDEO) | 

    [...] TheAgitator: KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a [...]

  78. #78 |  gdk | 

    I don’t care what equipment cops use or if they lie to get search warrants. I only care about dealers and junkies being taken off the streets and sent to prison.

  79. #79 |  Breaking the Law… | Heretical Ideas Blog | 

    [...] Balko has a nice summary of a group of people exposing illegal tactics used by police in order to prosecute the War on Drugs. Just read the whole [...]

  80. #80 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    “The police are mis-understood. I’d like to see some of you live without them.”

    And what don’t we understand about them? Seems most here have a pretty good grasp.

    “I don’t care what equipment cops use or if they lie to get search warrants. I only care about dealers and junkies being taken off the streets and sent to prison.”

    Too laughable to warrant any serious response other than…WHAT???? Do you wipe your ass with the consititution on a daily basis?

  81. #81 |  nemo | 

    Und I don’t care iff die inn-o-zent get hurt in ze process! Unly ze guilty need fear! Jawohl!

  82. #82 |  Edintally | 

    Do we have a term for the first person who throws out the Pedophile card in an argument?

  83. #83 |  Tools of the State | 

    Did someone who reads TheAgitator actually leave a comment saying this is a bad thing, because what if next time the cops do not raid a suspected drug home, and there turns out to be a pedophile living there?

    Yup. #70. Either the trolls are getting better, or the cops who read this blog are getting dumber.

  84. #84 |  Cops Raid a House to Find Christmas Trees Under a Grow Light - Super Off Topic Syndicate | 

    [...] The Agitator Blog Archive Gotcha Saturday, December 6th, 2008 Like Mark Draughn, I

  85. #85 |  grizzly | 

    “Do we have a term for the first person who throws out the Pedophile card in an argument?”

    Douchebag?

  86. #86 |  Gonzo | 

    “Do we have a term for the first person who throws out the Pedophile card in an argument?”

    Could we say the he erroniously dipped into the Pedo File?

    Merry Christmas!

  87. #87 |  BA | 

    LOL at all the excited potheads. Listen up. There only has to be probable cause. Probable means probably as in “there is probably some contraband in the location”

    Cops run search warrants all the time and come up dry. It is hard to time it right on when to serve the warrant. Most dopehouses sell out of product pretty fast.

    Dont get your dander up that the cops are in a bunch of trouble. They’re not. Keep dreaming about they are all in trouble. They only have to have probable cause which could be growlights and a few other tidbits of information.

    Who should be worrying right now is the person who made the fake “anonymous call”. HMMMMM could that be False report to a Peace Officer? I believe that is a felony in Tejas. And to be a lawyer involved in that. HMMMMM that could be a state bar complaint. Texas State Bar has been smashing lawyers the last couple of years. Something as petty as not returning your clients phone calls could get your license to practice revoked!!!

  88. #88 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    BA,

    You don’t have to use drugs to oppose prohibition. I think most of the commenters here opposing prohibition don’t use the drugs themselves. They just detest moralistic twits.

    As for probable cause, you don’t get it. The response was too quick for them to have got probable cause without breaking the law themselves. There was no way for them to know about growlights without using something like infra-red. But they can only legally use that if they already had probable cause. An anonymous tip is not probable cause.

  89. #89 |  SusanK | 

    BA is right that probable cause is a low standard. However, he is entirely wrong about the “false reporting”. Calling in a fake tip (assuming that is what was done here) is not false reporting if the information is given as a tip (“I think they’re growing drugs” vs. “John Doe at 123 Elm Street is growing marijuana in his home”). The words used make all the difference.
    As for the state bar association yanking a lawyer’s license for this – not likely, unless violations of state law are shown. Kind of like getting rid of a dirty cop – not likely, unlelss violations of state law are shown.

  90. #90 |  Kopbusters - Political Fever - The Political Debate Forums | 

    [...] I can

  91. #91 |  Busting Bad Cops « Out Of My Mind | 

    [...] Link. [...]

  92. #92 |  Chris | 

    In regards to my previous post (#22) – It looks like the forum admin who posted the message has now edited it to take out the part about “sent in an anonymous tip”. The bottom of the post has the line:

    “Last edited by WildChild on Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:46 pm; edited 1 time in total”

    http://nevergetbusted.com/ngbbb/about1999.html

    Perhaps it was taken out due to the legal issues involved?

  93. #93 |  mg | 

    Couple minor points:

    - Yolanda was convicted of possession with intent to sell meth – not pot.

    - FLIRs are legal, once a warrant has been issued. [I just point this out because the "FLIRs are illegal" text you see on the web are a bit misleading]

    I suspect that Yolanders father wanted to nail these guys because his daughter got set up by a co-user/customer – but personally I have my doubts she was guilt free, nor do I think these cops are guilt free.

    mg

  94. #94 |  Capital Defense Weekly » Blog Archive » Cops busted for ummmm… well…. | 

    [...] Bwahahahahaha. Posted in new developments | [...]

  95. #95 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “but whether the local district attorney tries to come up with a crime with which to charge Cooper and his assistants. I can’t imagine such a charge would get very far, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone try.”

    Crime = wiretapping

  96. #96 |  Kevin S | 

    Texas is a one-party consent state. It’s stupendously unlikely Cooper et al. could be charged with wiretapping, unless they were taping internal police communications or something.

  97. #97 |  The Crossed Pond » KopBusters | 

    [...] Outstanding. KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house. [...]

  98. #98 |  Beware The Man « Beware The Man | 

    [...] The police get busted. Oops! [...]

  99. #99 |  Donklephant » Blog Archive » Kop Busters | 

    [...] It’s a sting operation carried out against police for the all-too-common problem of questionable-at-best probable cause in drug raids. [...]

  100. #100 |  adamreposa | 

    Could someone show me the case cite where FLIR usage is held to be legal without a warrant? I don’t hold myself out as a conlaw scholar, but I am sure I know more about the 4th amendment and its application in Texas State Constitution and Due Course of Law cases than any of you armchair scholars. I was not in Odessa when any anonymous tip was made to the OPD, but I can say that there was no other basis, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO GROW OPERATION. They either lied on the warrant affidavit, or the judge signed a ridiculous warrant. Either way, Barry is winning. The story is huge and the more right wing authoritarian dolts who come out of the woodwork to say things like “I support cops in everything because I can’t form my own opinions,” the better! Barak would never have been elected if it wasn’t for George W. Bush and Barry would not get so much attention if it wasn’t for government lovers. Oh and as far as my license to practice law, they can get in line.

  101. #101 |  Leatherneck | 

    You go Adam- The truth will be revealed – run scared all you cops, prosecutors, and judges. The truth is feared by all evil men.
    Odesaa has blackout on story, but the light switch is flipped on and the cockroaches are running for cover. News Flash cops will be protected, affidavit will be altered – some poor busted dope will take fall. Fed Pros in Midland (Jackson) will try to protect “his boys” the OPD narcs – he has built is resume on their lies in court. Internal police document and testimony of former narc show Midland Fed Pros. conspired with OPD to deny 5th amendent rights. He told them not to record inteviews or confession in cases they wanted to go fed. Just have two cops come testify the “confession” took place. So if I do not want to confess the cops can do it for me in Junells court. Human Rights Violation – you think?
    Happy hunting Barry. Confessions -yes / compositions- no!

  102. #102 |  KopBusters: Candid Camera for the Boys in Blue — FR33 AGENTS | 

    [...] suspected growers, dealers and users is Radley Balko. He is cautiously optimistic about KopBusters, writing: Like Mark Draughn, I’ve been somewhat skeptical of Barry Cooper, the former drug cop turned [...]

  103. #103 |  Balko Bait « Upturned Earth || John Schwenkler | 

    [...] goes on. Good thing for the Stowers family that they weren’t growing any Christmas trees. No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI [...]

  104. #104 |  Upturned Earth » Blog Archive » Balko Bait | 

    [...] It goes on. Good thing for the Stowers family that they weren’t growing any Christmas trees. [...]

  105. #105 |  coriolis | 

    “How did the cops cops get turned on to the house in the first place?” Here’s how… Cooper, or one of his partners in this prank, penned an anonymous letter and had a woman beg a local minister to deliver it to the police department. The minister did so and is on record in the local newspaper admitting as much. Even the minister suspects Kopbusters of authoring the letter. Cooper has denied this and when asked how he expected the cops to just happen upon this house without any knowledge of it, he flew into an expletive-laced tirade, never answering the question. I’d say the Kopbuster himself was “busted” and his credibility is in the toilet. No, I’m not a cop. But I hate liars, and Barry Cooper is like a bad scientist who manipulates the experiment so that he gets the results he wants.

  106. #106 |  FreeYolanda | 

    Odessa Police Department may investigate postings of the Odessa American online posting.

  107. #107 |  Fortuna Faveat | KopBusters: honestly, the pinnacle of reality television | 

    [...] Via The Agitator [...]

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