Newburgh man thinks drug raid was racially motivated

NEWBURGH, IN (WFIE) - A Newburgh home was raided last week, and two men were taken into custody. But only one of them charged.

The family told 14 News, they think the situation may be racially motivated.

DEA officials, Warrick County sheriff's deputies, Newburgh and Boonville police were all on the scene, according to the probable cause affidavit.

One of the men taken into custody said when he saw officers swarming outside, with their guns drawn, he called for his son.

"I hollered upstairs and told my son-in-law, I said I see some people coming up toward the house with some guns," Joseph Hunter said.

Hunter noticed law enforcement badges, so he got up to open the door, when he said officials burst in.

"They rammed up with some kind of device that they use to knock down doors and they entered the house and told me to get on the floor you know," Hunter said.

Officials brought Joseph's son-in-law, Demarco Groves, downstairs and the two men waited as officers went room to room.

"The search warrant was never showed to neither one of us," Hunter said.

He said he was not sure what the officers were looking for, but in court documents officers said they found a small baggie of marijuana and more than $12,000.

Both Hunter and Groves were taken to the Warrick County Jail.

"They locked me up in a cell, locked my son-in-law up in a cell and never read me any rights or anything, didn't let me know the reason why I was down there," Hunter said.

Hunter was released, but his son-in-law was charged with possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance.

"Tout to be they said we was growing marijuana in our basement because people called in and said this is what we were doing," Hunter said.

Hunter said a combination of potting soil left behind be the previous owners and what officers called a higher than normal electric bill led to the police presence.

"They put those two together and tried to make it as if we were growing marijuana," Hunter said.

Hunter said he isn't completely surprised that a neighbor may have called in a tip, which is why he thinks the ordeal may be racially motivated.

"In a way I do, because I noticed a few things about a few neighbors they're a little unfriendly. Maybe a few of them are, I feel like they're pretty uncomfortable about us living here in Newburgh," Hunter said.

The family says law enforcement did return the money, the family says it was related to a business they own and was not drug related.

Law enforcement was unable to be reached for comment.

This is an ongoing investigation.

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