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SWAT Team Flash-bangs Grandmother During Botched Drug Raid, Gives Her Heart Attack

• Information Liberation
A Colorado Springs grandmother who suffered a heart attack when drug agents stormed into her home in 2009 has filed suit claiming the officers’ tactics were “extreme, unreasonable and outrageous.”

Rose Ann Santistevan, 71, is suing for medical expenses and noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering.

An emphysema sufferer, Santistevan was alone in bed receiving oxygen on Oct. 6, 2009, when a multijurisdictional SWAT task force with a search warrant surrounded her home in the 200 block of South Prospect Street. They threw in a flash-bang grenade before rushing in with guns drawn, authorities have confirmed.

Stricken by a heart attack, Santistevan was admitted in critical condition at Memorial Hospital Central, where she remained for several days. A search of her home yielded no arrests and turned up no drugs, the family said.

The personal injury suit — filed in June in U.S. District Court in Denver — marks the latest allegation to plague a major drug operation dubbed Operation Jeez Luis.

The seven-month probe was spearheaded by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and involved the multiagency Metro, Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit. It includes members of Colorado Springs police and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, who are named as defendants along with the FBI.
Santistevan’s home was searched on a day when her son and other relatives were arrested during a series of SWAT raids in Colorado Springs.

The family said agents were watching the home and should have known Santistevan, who is disabled, would be alone.

Joseph Santistevan, a son who wasn’t implicated in the drug ring, said the authorities believed Perez had been hiding drugs inside his mother’s home after seeing him carry in a birthday cake for a relative’s party.

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