August 17, 2017
A former special forces infantryman, who was awarded the Bronze Star and uses marijuana to treat PTSD after tours to Iraq and Bosnia, has sued the Fountain police SWAT team after officers raided his legal marijuana greenhouse.
Eli Olivas and his girlfriend Marisela Chavez sued the city of Fountain and Fountain police Sgt. Matthew Racine, claiming the city failed to properly train its police to investigate pot cases in a state where it’s legal to grow marijuana.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Denver by attorney Terrence Johnson. Olivas and Chavez seek compensatory damages of more than $100,000. Olivas, a paramedic, also wants his guns returned: an AK-47 rifle, a 5.56 millimeter Sig Sauer rifle and a Glock 17, court records show Police confiscated the weapons but haven’t returned them, the lawsuit says.
Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer said the department had a valid search warrant signed by a judge.
Olivas is a former U.S. Army Special Forces staff sergeant, infantryman, medic and combat veteran. Besides the Bronze Star, he earned numerous other service medals. He also was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder linked to combat.
Olivas is a registered medical marijuana patient with a permit to grow up to 99 marijuana plants for his own treatment of PTSD. He was growing 18 marijuana plants behind a locked, 6-foot privacy fence. The plants were further enclosed in a greenhouse walled with opaque glass.
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