Westminster couple says they were wrongly targeted in drug raid

Problem Solvers

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Pictures and video obtained by the Problem Solvers show a trail of destruction left by federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security and Westminster police after the two law enforcement agencies served a search warrant at a private residence last week.  

“They told me they were looking for drugs. They said that somebody was using my name and this address to deliver narcotics from across the border. They gave me names of who is involved and I know none of them,” said Shay Lintner.

The 23-year-old has lived in the same townhome near West 81st Avenue and Federal Boulevard with her 22-year-old boyfriend Jacob Flores for the past three years.

The couple told FOX31 they were sound asleep when a SWAT team arrived at 6:14 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 to serve a search warrant for illegal drugs.

“I had my hands up. I was crying, in shock and I put my hands up over my mouth because I didn’t know what to do. One of the SWAT members grabbed me, threw me to the floor… and dragged me until I was about at that table when I was still naked and then put handcuffs on me,” said Lintner.

Flores said he wasn’t able to make it to the front door before agents burst through, tearing the door off the hinges.

“I’m still having trouble finding words about this whole situation. I’m just more mad that I couldn’t protect my own girlfriend inside my house when she was being drug across the carpet naked and I couldn’t help her,” said Flores.

“I had a female officer that was right here, that was just kind of ignoring my requests. I was begging and begging and begging to put pants on, at least,” said Lintner.

Neighbors’ ring cameras show a SWAT team approaching the home at 6:14 a.m. The camera’s audio captures law enforcement announcing their presence and banging on the door: “Police, search warrant, open the door. Police, search warrant, open the door.”  

Westminster police documents said, “after several announcement were made there was no answer at the front door.”

“I’m sleeping buck naked,” said Lintner. “I had gotten to about right here before they kicked the door open and so they were inside already screaming when I was still naked.”

The search warrant listed Lintner’s and Flores’ address but it gave no names or explanation for what the Department of Homeland Security agents were seeking. 

After five hours of searching, Lintner said federal agents finally suggested she was suspected of buying drugs from China, the United Kingdom and possibly Canada.

“We kept looking  at each other in disbelief asking each other what was going on,” she said.

Flores said agents hinted his girlfriend might be living a secret life.

“They brang up Xanax bars and ecstasy” as items she supposedly ordered back in May, Flores said.

The couple said despite their cooperation, police and federal agents ripped up their rental unit while searching for drugs. 

The Problem Solvers were given access to the townhome about four hours after the search warrant ended and observed a broken railing on the stairwell, plus holes punched through bedroom doors that were also ripped from their hinges, along with clothes piled high in the bathtub and a spare bedroom.

“This doesn’t seem like they were trying to find a specific something. This just looks like they were trying to destroy things as much as they could,” Lintner said. 

Flores added, “They don’t care about people. They want to find the criminals and if they mistakenly raid someone’s house, they still don’t care. You know they’re not going to help us fix this.”

Lintner said the agents mentioned four names: two Chinese women and two Hispanic, but she did not recognize them. Flores said he recognized one name, a “Jose Gonzalez” but he added it’s such a common name he had no idea if it was same person agents were interested in.

The pair said agents left with their cellphones and a laptop, but found no drugs, made no arrests and did not offer an apology. 

“They left pretty much mocking us, laughing at us,” Lintner said, who added she experienced an asthma attack induced by anxiety during the raid but wasn’t allowed to retrieve her inhaler.

Flores said, “I feel like they know they are not going to find anything (on our electronic devices) and just the way they were questioning me, you know, I didn’t do anything wrong but the way they are questioning me, it makes me feel like you did something wrong even though you didn’t.”

A spokeswoman for Homeland Security said the agency will not comment because the case is under investigation. The affidavit used to convince a judge to sign the search warrant has been sealed.  

A spokesman for Westminster police said the department broke the front door and the latch to an attic crawl space but denied causing any of the other property damage FOX31 observed inside the home.

“(They) claimed that I could have Chinese people living in our basement and in our attic working as slaves,” said Lintner. 

Lintner has no previous convictions while Flores has a possession for marijuana conviction as a teenager. The couple said they have hired an attorney to consider civil legal action. 

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