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FBI looks into raid on mayor

August 08, 2008|From the Associated Press

BERWYN HEIGHTS, MD. — Mayor Cheye Calvo got home from work, saw a package addressed to his wife on the front porch and brought it inside.

Suddenly, police with guns drawn kicked in the door and stormed in, shooting to death the couple's two dogs and seizing the unopened package. Inside was 32 pounds of marijuana that evidently didn't belong to the couple.

Police now say the mayor and his wife appear to have been innocent victims of a scheme by two men to smuggle millions of dollars' worth of the drug by having it delivered to about half a dozen unsuspecting recipients.

The men, who are under arrest, include a FedEx deliveryman. Investigators allege that he would drop a package off outside a home and that the other man would come by soon after to pick it up.

Now federal authorities say they're looking into what happened during the July 29 raid. FBI Special Agent Rich Wolf said late Thursday that the bureau had opened a civil rights investigation.

A furious Calvo said earlier Thursday that he and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, were asking the Justice Department to investigate.

"Trinity was an innocent victim and random victim," Calvo said outside his two-story red-brick house in this middle-class Washington suburb of about 3,000. "We were harmed by the very people who took an oath to protect us."

Calvo said that the couple's two black Labradors were gentle and that police killed one of them as it was running away.

"Our dogs were our children," said Calvo, 37. "They were the reason we bought this house, because it had a big yard for them to run in."

The mayor said he was handcuffed for about two hours along with his mother-in-law. No charges were brought against Calvo or his wife, who came home during the raid.

Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin High said Wednesday that Calvo and his family were "most likely . . . innocent victims," but he would not rule out their involvement. He and other officials did not apologize for killing the dogs, saying the officers felt threatened.

The neighborhood has rallied around the family.

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