Sheriff: SWAT Team Almost Used in Bieber Raid
January 16, 2014
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's lieutenant who oversaw the execution of a search warrant on Justin Bieber's home in connection with a felony vandalism case is defending the number of officers used and said he also considered sending in a SWAT team.
Lt. David Thompson told FoxNews.com that despite ordering 11 squad cars and a dozen detectives to the 19-year-old pop star's home in Calabasas, CA on Tuesday, he said he wished he had ordered even more officers to the scene. "I'm being criticized for having too much, but I don't think I had enough," said Thompson, who revealed that he pulled back a SWAT team.
Thompson noted that Bieber's property measures 10,000-square feet, with has a large garage and guesthouse, and said that two of the singer's bodyguards have criminal records and one was armed. "And we had no idea how many people were in that house. He [Bieber] has had so many people in there before -- some tied to guns, drugs and all kinds of things.
"The decision was based on how many people to expect, which we didn't know, and it was also based on previous contacts, which have always been negative. I stand by my decision," said Thompson, who added that while there were 12 detectives on the scene, there were at least seven people at the house. "... Those odds aren't that good."
Thompson said that he and his deputies had a "lengthy discussion" over whether to send in a SWAT team when they learned that two of Bieber's security guards had previously been arrested in Florida and that one was allegedly armed inside the garage.
The search warrant was triggered by a complaint by one of Bieber's neighbors that the pop star participated in throwing eggs at his home, which suffered an estimated $20,000 in damage."We were not looking for eggs. We were looking for security footage, which we did get," Thompson said. Describing the alleged egging incident, the lieutenant said of the neighbor, "The victim and his young daughter were in the line of fire for the eggs, which is an assault."
Thompson added that contrary to earlier reports, cocaine was not the drug discovered at the scene that led to the felony drug arrest of a guest at Bieber's home during the raid, 20-year-old rapper Xavier Smith, who goes by the name Lil Za. He said it was determined at the scene that the drugs were "definitely illegal" and consisted of "Molly," a form of Ecstasy, and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug for which Smith did not have a prescription.
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