Man in botched drug raid charged

Huron County deputies find cocaine residue on marijuana pipe
Courtney Astolfi
May 18, 2014
A Norwalk man who was on the receiving end of a bad search warrant in March was arrested Thursday for alleged contraband seized in the botched raid.

John Collins, 26, of 114 ½ Benedict Ave., was charged with one count of cocaine possession, a fifth-degree felony.

Huron County Chief Deputy Ted Patrick and two deputies went to Collins’ home and arrested him on the charge Thursday morning, Collins said.

Click HERE for a history of stories about the botched raid

Lt. Chris Stanfield later told Collins the drug charge stemmed from cocaine residue allegedly found in a marijuana pipe deputies confiscated from Collins’ home March 25, Collins said.    

Other law enforcement officials in Huron County pointed out that it would be highly unusual for someone to smoke crack or cocaine out of a marijuana pipe.

When deputies arrived at Collins’ home Thursday to serve the possession warrant, he asked Patrick, on a whim, if he could kiss his girlfriend goodbye.

“He said, ‘No, you can shut the (expletive) up and get in the car’” Collins said.

Deputies hauled him to the Huron County jail. 

“You could feel the animosity in the air,” Collins said. “I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to watch my P’s and Q’s or else they might do something’”

Collins’ bond was later set at $5,000. His attorney had asked for a 10 percent bond release stipulation, but that was denied, Collins said.

Collins’ mother, Joyce Collins, called the jail after the hearing to inquire about visitation and phone calls.

“(Major Mike) Cooksey told me (Sheriff Dane) Howard has decided due to a conflict of interest that we’re going to transfer him to Ashland County” Joyce said.

Collins was also told he was going to be transferred.

Jail staff got out handcuffs and a belt shackle — restraints typically used for transport — and readied Collins for departure.

But at the last second, Collins said, his mother secured a bondsman and he was able to post bail before he was transferred.

Collins is now slated for a preliminary hearing next week regarding the cocaine possession charge, Collins said.

The pipe the alleged cocaine was discovered on was seized March 25, after deputies executed a search warrant at Collins’ 114 ½ Benedict Ave. address.

According to the warrant affidavit, deputies were there to search for Rob Hendricks — whose mother lives next door to Collins — and evidence of heroin and pill trafficking.

But deputies did not locate Hendricks, heroin or pills in Collins’ apartment.

Norwalk police Detective Jim Fulton warned Deputy Kayla Zander her department had the wrong address about 24 hours before deputies executed the warrant, but they proceeded to do so despite his cautions, according to internal Norwalk police documentsobtained by the Register through a public records request.

Sheriff Howard later released copies of text messages Fulton and Zander exchanged, but failed to include four pivotal texts that showed deputies knew they had the wrong address.

Howard has repeatedly failed to comply with public records requests regarding the incident, and it remains unclear if he will comply in the future.

Comments

Babo

Mr. Collins needs to get a good attorney and file a motion for independent testing of the evidence. Guess what, the residue is lost as part of the state's testing and it can't be duplicated. Case dismissed, then lawsuit filed for First amendment retaliation.

Maggdi

Well that was certainly a lucky mistake. They bounce into the wrong house and STILL find a criminal. I sleep so much better when the authorities enlighten me that their eff ups keep me even safer!
Although if you look at it another way, our communities are so infested with dangerous criminals that you could walk into almost any home and find one......

Maggdi

Isn't there a quote somewhere, from somebody that goes: ' I could indict a ham sandwich'...?

richrs

If that turns out to be a bad search warrant they can kiss any evidence seized goodbye. Fruit of the poisonous tree.

Donegan

This just seems like retaliation for the publicity the botched raid is receiving. Makes the police dept look that much more petty and out of touch with those they supposedly work for.

mikeylikesit

the corruption will never end..

YoMamma

I bet he also failed to use his turn signal once too! Where is Dunlap when you need him? Please show the SO how to run a legitimate department!

Good 2 B Me

The ONLY criminal activiy appears to be with the Police!

Someone needs to open an investigation into the way this has been mishandled! The proof has already been printed in the paper. There has to be a law firm drooling over this one!

gennycreamale

Maybe hcso needs to Google fruits of the poisonous tree. It's law 101... Actually it may be remedial college 099 law class. Sounds like cya now

LookingDown

Actualing its policing 2300 lol

LookingDown

But police don't need to attend school just a 6 mth academy that normally the individual pays for! With about 8 hours of ethics training! Help us all!

LookingDown

OK first of all....they probably did not refuse to give the reflector the public records. You put in a request and the police are required to give it to you in a "timely" manner. Sorry if it isn't fast enough for the article. As a cop I wouldn't rush to throw myself under the bus either! Second it will be thrown out because they did not have a right to search his house in the first place. Would love to see the search warrant because they are required to describe the house in full detail along with address and they have documents that show they knew they were going to wrong place along with police that went to school with Collins! Police are not perfect but dang say you messed up and move on!

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Lookingdown. The public records requests were made weeks ago and are being ignored, or not being responded to by the sheriff, who is the custodian of his records. There's no "timely" response at all. You can review the search warrant here

LookingDown

OK.....timely manner for you might be different for a small police force and if all records have to be read and dime info blacked out it might take time.... sucks to work for a news paper.... BTW I know the law thanks..... blah

newsreader

149. 43 B

(1) Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours. Subject to division (B)(8) of this section, upon request, a public office or person responsible for public records shall make copies of the requested public record available at cost and within a reasonable period of time. If a public record contains information that is exempt from the duty to permit public inspection or to copy the public record, the public office or the person responsible for the public record shall make available all of the information within the public record that is not exempt. When making that public record available for public inspection or copying that public record, the public office or the person responsible for the public record shall notify the requester of any redaction or make the redaction plainly visible. A redaction shall be deemed a denial of a request to inspect or copy the redacted information, except if federal or state law authorizes or requires a public office to make the redaction.

LookingDown

Thanks for the copy and paste job

fluffy

Babo, I'll do you one better. Doctrine of fruit from the poisonous tree. Evidence inadmissable due to discovery while serving a bad warrent. Illegal search and seizure.

Babo

Agreed. It should not even get to the point where the evidence needs to be independently tested. Also a Motion to Dismiss for selective prosecution based on retaliation for exercise of 1A rights.

Problem is does Huron County have a Common Pleas Court Judge who will do the right thing?

Joker

I guarantee this $20 bill in my pocket has cocaine residue on it. Not because I snort nose candy through it, but because most of the Andrew Jacksons in this nation have been used to buy drugs at some point. This is merely a vain Sheriff trying to put lipstick on his pig. All he's doing is pushing the football further down the field. It's time for him to put his big boy pants on and admit his deputies farked up, instead of constantly trying to put he and his crew in the best light (and not doing a very good job of it).

dorothy gale

Wow, how long will we continue to allow law enforcement to get away with crap like this?

SamAdams

I don't care WHAT LEOs found in the execution of the warrant! It was a bad warrant executed in what, from all appearances, is bad faith. The evidence is inadmissable.

Good luck with THIS one, Huron County! If I was the victim in this case, I'd not only be looking to have the charges dismissed but suing the invading law enforcement department(s) for damages!

TKeegan73's picture
TKeegan73

I have a few friends that practice law as Attorney's and they all said the same thing, "we wouldn't even consider trying to defend the HCSO on this case". The entire case should be dismissed and Mr. Collins should have a hand delivered written apology for their screw ups. With a good Attorney he could live the "high life" for quite a few years to come and it wouldn't have to be in an apartment....JMHO

kimi43464's picture
kimi43464

How convenient for Sheriff Howard and his gaggle of idiots. I am surprised at the finding of the cocaine residue.....NOT!!!!! And anyone with a brain should be equally amazed!