Rose Ann Santistevan, grandmother, sues over drug raid that gave her heart attack

heart attack graphic.jpg
Rose Ann Santistevan hardly fits the profile of a drug kingpin. She's 71 years old and suffers from emphysema. So when police burst into her home as part of a narcotics investigation dubbed Operation Jeez Luis, she did what anyone in her position would do: She had a heart attack. Fortunately, she recovered -- and she's in good enough condition to sue the cops over the incident.

kirt santistevan mug shot.jpg
Kirt Santistevan.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Operation Jeez Luis was named by investigators for Luis Angel "Trick" Vega, a suspect in a drug network whose tapped cell phone proved key to busting a crime ring associated with La Familia and the
Sureños street gang.

In October 2009, after a reported seven-month-long investigation, assorted law-enforcement agencies announced the seizure of more than $300,000 worth of meth, plus some cocaine, marijuana and mushrooms. Authorities also arrested at least fifteen people allegedly associated with the scheme, two of them with the surname Santistevan: Kirt Santistevan and Demetrius Santistevan. The Gazette identified them as Rose Ann's son and grandson.

demetrius santistevan.jpg
Demetrius Santistevan.
That didn't necessarily mean everyone with the name Santistevan was involved, however -- and even as the cops were celebrating their Operation Jeez Luis success, they acknowledged that their raid at Rose Ann's home, on the 200 block of South Prospect Street, had unforeseen consequences.

At the time, Rose Ann, then 69, was reportedly in bed receiving oxygen when a SWAT team stormed in, preceded by a flash-bang grenade that prompted the aforementioned heart attack. Rose Ann was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she stayed for several days afterward.

In the meantime, the cops searched her home, turning up no drugs and making no arrests.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Department continues to defend the raid. But Rose Ann's complaint calls the officers' actions "extreme, unreasonable and outrageous." She's suing for medical expenses and more.

Jeez Luis!

More from our News archive: "Martinez family lawsuit: Members of Mexican band say Denver cops mistakenly beat them."


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15 comments
zflynn2
zflynn2

May she get millions and may the cops all get fired.  (The former probable, the latter damn unlikely).

Hailey Dunnski Dunn
Hailey Dunnski Dunn

And the cops get what they deserve for such a xtreme raid, they are police, not Marines...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Our drug laws outrage the conscience of all true Americans.  Police, judges, and anyone else who acts to enforce these laws are enemy combatants against our People and Constitution.  El Paso County, its District Attorney Dan May, and its Sheriff are engaged in an ongoing criminal enterprise preying upon the very people who pay their salaries.  Ms. Santistevan's compensation should be the budget of the County's SWAT team, and henceforth only one unarmed drug cop at a time dispatched to conduct all drug raids.

Bruce Edmund Carroll
Bruce Edmund Carroll

how the hell is a 71 year old grandmother who depends on oxygen to breathe and live going to do illegal drugs and smuggle them without dying? She has a lung condition from smoking. and to give her a goddamn heart attack? She could have died very easily from a massive heart attack.

Exador3
Exador3

After she wins her case against the city, she should sue the cops personally.  As was said earlier, the cops don't have to take any responsibility for their actions.  They are historically shielded, giving them carte blanche to do this crap.  Maybe after a few of them lose their pensions, the rest will think, "How about I check ONE MORE TIME that this is the house we want to invade."

lln
lln

so in other words you wanna send all drug cops to their assasinations? this is such a stupid post.

Hailey Dunnski Dunn
Hailey Dunnski Dunn

drugs take away from suffering, Ive seen an 80 year old man take several OD sized crack hits before rolling his electric wheelchair back to his room to watch tv... they can and they do, more than you know. if you think your parents are/were slick add 30 more years of experience, its funny really.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Um, no, I think he is suggesting that drug cops need to stop assassinating unarmed civilians.  This whole paramilitary police mentality has gotten out of hand and needs to be stopped.  Nothing has destroyed our civil liberties in this country as thoroughly as the War on Drugs.  The fact that these cops would even through a flash grenade into a house with an old lady lying in bed taking her oxygen treatment shows that they didn't even do the most basic research before storming in.  They didn't need to use their brains because they were relying on overwhelming firepower.  You don't see anything wrong with that picture?

Bruce Edmund Carroll
Bruce Edmund Carroll

thats cuz he is not on oxygen, cocaine can affect the lungs when smoked or snorted, and when you have a medical condition that forces you to breathe pure oxygen,  and you do them drugs, its not going to help you breathe easier, its going to worsen that condition. i am not talking about legal drugs, i am talking about illegal drugs. you don't know what the illict drugist cut those drugs with, they could cut it with "fry", ajax, denture tablets, cyanide, you name it they could cut them and those buying the drugs wouln't know until they are half past dead.

Badtastic
Badtastic

Sure, to a degree I agree with you. However, they were not dealing with a 71 year old woman according to their information. The flashbang is used before SWAT invades the residence or room so they did not know it was an elderly woman on "tubes". The blame here lies with the shitty intelligance they received.

Subject: [vvm-den-blogs-news] Re: The Latest Word - Michael Roberts - Rose Ann Santistevan, grandmother, sues over drug raid that gave her heart attack

Scott Gilbert
Scott Gilbert

I can't understand why they would think that a flashbang was necessary to subdue a 71 year old person who is undergoing medical treatment.  Surely two cops politely knocking on the door could have served the search warrant just as effectively.

These faux military tactics should be for rare circumstances where violent resistance is a foregone conclusion, not the standard procedure it is today.

Badtastic
Badtastic

Most likely the SWAT team did not do research, but this is normal. The SWAT team is not responsible for doing research. They are fed information on a situation and react according to orders. They are just dogs doing what they are told based on the information they are given. Maybe the fault doesn't lie with the hammer, but with the person swinging it.

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