HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Identity Crisis
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Feb 2004
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Shane Holladay
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Cops planning a massive co-ordinated series of drug raids in 1999 feared 
officers would be mistaken for attacking rival gang members, a fatality 
inquiry into the deaths of two young men heard yesterday. Staff Sgt. Bill 
Newton said senior officers worried alleged gang members - including those 
inside the 12925 65 St. apartment where the men fell from a fourth-floor 
balcony to their deaths - could "overreact" if they didn't know it was cops 
kicking in the door.

Huu Pham, 15, and Adam Miller, 21, plunged to their deaths during the Sept. 
24, 1999, tactical raid.

"We were concerned they would act inappropriately not knowing we were 
police," Newton told the inquiry. "This was information in the operational 

He testified cops had little indication suspects that day might be prone to 
harming police officers, although a few were considered extremely dangerous.

The raid was part of a massive $750,000 14-month police operation that 
ended in September 1999 - targeting cocaine-trafficking in Edmonton, Red 
Deer and Fort McMurray

The inquiry was called to look into events surrounding Miller and Pham's 
fatal falls.

In September of 1999, Newton was a detective with the Edmonton integrated 
intelligence section, which gathered information on the alleged gang 
members through wiretaps.

"We were very worried through the month of August because of the increases 
in violence," Newton said.

"We believed all along that the (alleged gang members at the north-side 
apartment) were not the originators of violence, but were reacting to it.

"I don't know if it was self-defence or for a pre-emptive strike, but they 
were definitely arming themselves."

Wiretap transcripts read out at the inquiry featured alleged gang members 
talking about bringing guns and ammunition, as well as drugs, to the 
north-side apartment.

Another wiretap revealed a telephone conversation in which an alleged gang 
member tried to buy an AK-47 and a TEC-9 - a machine-fed semi-automatic 
pistol - along with handguns.

However, he was told a competing gang had already bought most of the 
seller's supply of handguns.

The inquiry has heard two flash-bang devices were detonated during the 
raid, one in and one out. Tom Engel, the lawyer for the Miller family, 
contends a flash-bang played a role in the fatal plunge of the two young men.

Testimony continues Feb 23.
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