Veteran takes police to court after illegal raid


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

A former special forces infantryman and Bronze Star awardee who used medical cannabis cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sued the Fountain police SWAT team after law enforcement raided his legal cannabis nursery.

Eli Olivas sued the city of Fountain and Fountain police Sgt. Matthew Racine and claimed the city failed to properly train its officers to investigate cannabis cases in a state where it’s legal to grow the plant.

Olivas is a registered medical cannabis patient with permission to grow up to 99 plants for his own treatment of PTSD. He was growing 18  plants in a discreet greenhouse behind a privacy fence.

Olivas seeks damages of more than $100,00 and wants his firearms returned. Court records show police confiscated the weapons but haven’t returned them, the lawsuit says.

A SWAT team in late July raided his home with a warrant for cannabis, firearms, and ammunition. The lawsuit said the warrant was based on weak evidence while the police officers executed unnecessary force. 

“The unconscionable aggression of the police would have traumatized any person, but given plaintiff Olivas’ history serving his country in combat, it affected him exponentially more severely and it has caused a relapse of his PTSD symptoms,” the lawsuit stated.

The officers also made Olivas sit within close distance of a running police vehicle’s exhaust pipe. He began to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but officers denied his requests to be moved.  

The officers could have requested Olivas’ legal permit to grow cannabis and avoided a raid entirely, the lawsuit said.