“Freeze, search warrant!”
– State Police Swat Team member
The loud bang caught me by surprise; I thought I was getting robbed. No one had ever tried to kick in my door before, and that was exactly what I thought was happening. Caught off guard by the loud crash, my first reaction was to run into my bedroom and grab my pistol. Before I could even get out of my cousin’s room, I was stopped dead in my tracks - stopped by men wearing masks and carrying heavy artillery. “Freeze, search warrant!” the crowd yelled out as they poured into the living room. As the swat team yelled; I stood there shocked and motionless. Because I was unable to move, they figured I was just disobeying their direct order. “Get on the ground!” the first swat officer yelled, with the barrel of his AR dead in my face. Then he grabbed me up by my collar and slammed me to the ground.
“You can’t understand English? I said get down, what you trying to do stupid, get shot?” the officer asked. While speaking, the first officer secured my hands together with plastic zip tie type restraints while another patted me down. Lying in the doorway of Jae’s bedroom, I watched as a couple officers step over my body to get to the other people in the room. From my bedroom, one of the swat members yelled out “Gun!” which let his team know that he had located a pistol. The very pistol that would’ve gotten my brains blown out had I got to it in time.
Out of my pocket they pulled out seven individually wrapped dime bags of weed. In my other pocket, there was twenty one dollars and a pack of swishers. On top of that, next to the couch in Jae's room sat a freshly opened pound of weed. The pound was the same bow that I had just gotten less than an hour earlier. Standing me to my feet, the officers escorted me into the kitchen and sat me in a chair while they began to detain the three people in the next room over. With my hands behind my back, I watched as a couple officers brought Joey down from the second floor apartment.
From there, the swat team pooled everyone besides myself into the living room and directed them to sit on the floor. The cops asked me some questions but my only answer was that I didn’t sell weed. Unhappy with what I was saying, a few of them stood me up and one of the officers walked me outside to a mini van parked in my neighbor’s driveway. Sliding back the driver side door, the swat officer threw me in the back seat. Once inside the van, the same swat team member who walked me out got in the driver seat and started trying to break me down. I took the time to at least listen to what he had to say, analyzing every word that came out his mouth trying to peep his angle.
“Mr. Allen, you know we’re here to see you, right? We know what you’ve been doing and it’s in your best interest to help yourself out,” the officer tried intimidating. “We know you’re a good kid that made a simple mistake. We don’t want you, we want the big fish,” he added.
“What have I been doing sir? I haven’t done anything wrong,” I responded.
“Come on man, we aren’t stupid we know what’s going on here. Do you think we are here for no reason?” the officer asked.
“I didn’t say you were stupid! I don’t know why you’re here. What I said was, I don’t know what you are talking about,” I shot back. It was obvious that I wasn’t gonna tell on myself, so the interrogator tried a different angle.
“What would you say if I told you, you sold marijuana to an undercover cop?” the officer asked from the front seat. Chuckling for a second, I then answered back.
“There's no way I sold weed to an undercover because I don’t sell weed, I already told you that.”
“Okay, well explain to me why we took weed out of your pocket then?” the anxious cop asked. Blowing him off, I started again.
“Sir, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t sell weed. My friends come by and we smoke together. If I have weed then I’ll give them some, and if they got it they’ll give me some.”
“Why is it bagged separately then?” he asked.
“When I give it out, I don’t want to give out too much,” I responded, with a light chuckle.
“You are in a lot of trouble. I’m not going to sit here and let you jerk my chain,” the officer said with an aggressive tone.
“Well all I can tell you is to do your job, because I don’t know what you expect me to say.” I got smart as I leaned back in the seat.
Frustrated by what I was saying, the officer jumped out the van, slid back the van’s door and grabbed me out the back seat. Barely able to keep up with him and nearly being dragged, the officer walked me back up to the house as a crowd began to form out in the street. Back in the house, the officer walked me to the kitchen and sat me in the same chair that I was in before. Now, the chair was strategically placed facing the front door, I guess that was so I could watch everybody in the house do the same thing I had just done, one by one. The officer took turns walking each person out to the van to answer his questions in private, hoping to get a snitch. From inside the room where my company had been sitting, one of the swat members brought out a .44 magnum revolver and set it on the counter in front of me.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“Looks like a gun to me,” I answered.
“I found this under the couch in the bedroom that you were coming out of when we came in,” the officer stated.
“There were four people sitting on the couch in there. Why you asking me when you should be asking them?” I challenged his statement.
“Plus I don’t even live here, I don’t know what’s all in here,” I added.
“Well who lives here then?” the tall man asked, standing over me as I sat in the chair.
Answering back I explained, “No one does now. That’s why we are here. A young lady named Frannie was my tenant, she moved out and I’m here cleaning things up.”
“Why would she leave all this stuff behind?” another officer asked.
“I’m not sure, one day she just up and left without notice. My handyman and I, the old white guy in there, we came here to work on the apartment. Since I was gonna be here for a while, I invited a few friends over to keep me company,” I explained. Trying to catch me in a lie, the questions continued.
“Frannie what?” they asked.
“Huh?” I responded, puzzled.
“Francis Arredondo,” I told them “and I have a contract to prove it!”
“Oh really?” he started “where is it?”
Saying the first thing that came to mind I responded, “At my office.”
The questions kept coming.
“Where is your office at?” one of the officers asked.
“On North Avenue,” I answered.
“What’s the address?” the officer demanded.
“Come on man that doesn’t matter does it? The contract is the important thing right?” I asked back.
“Do you have someone who can bring the paperwork here now?” they quickly asked.
“I sure do, I can have my mom bring it here right now,” I responded. Pulling out my phone, the officer flipped it open and prepared to dial.
“What’s your mother’s phone number?” he asked
I rambled off the digits and the officer dialed. Soon as the phone started to ring, the officer put it on speaker phone. After four or five rings, my mom finally picked up. Obviously asleep, she mumbled out “Hello.” With the entire swat team listening, I tried to be discrete.
“Mom, I need you to go downstairs and look in my file cabinet,” I explained.
“Why Keem, I’m sleep,” she asked through the phone.
“Mom please, I’ve got a situation and I need you to bring me the rental papers for my house,” I told my mom, trying to talk in code. Confused, she tried to get an understanding.
“What is going on?” she asked. Cutting her off, I butted in.
“Mom listen, don’t say anything please! Just get the paperwork and I will explain later.” Before I could finish my statement, the officer slammed the cell phone shut.
“That is enough! What do you got to hide? It sounds like your mother is at home sleeping to me. You told her to go downstairs, not to your office. We aren’t stupid!” he yelled, getting even more pissed off.
Right then, the officers changed up, the questions stopped and they started getting real quiet. After that, they were only talking amongst themselves in a low tone so that I couldn’t hear the conversation. I could tell that they were up to something. Right then, they brought my cousin back in the house. Jae stepped into the living room and they cut the plastic restraints off his wrists. Held by three officers, the plastic restraints were replaced with a pair of handcuffs while one of them patted Jae on the back. When the plastic was taken off and he got the real cuffs, Ja’Quan had his head down like he wanted to cry. Supportive, the officers encouraged my cousin that he had done the right thing. When I heard that, I immediately thought my cousin was cooperating with the task force against me. After all I had done for him I couldn’t believe that he would do me like that.
As I sat in the kitchen and continued to listen, I realized that wasn’t the case at all. The officer was talking to my cousin about him telling the truth, not on me, but about his true identity. Initially, my cousin gave up his alias to the officers, but they didn’t bite. When they asked me, I told the officers the same thing. In the van, I said that Joseph (Ja’Quan’s alias) was an employee of mine and that he had come by to hang out with me and the two young ladies. Weak and tired of running, Jae gave in and told on himself, taking his stripes like a man. My cousin was better then me, if I was him I would have stayed on the run. I just couldn’t imagine giving up, knowing that I was facing attempted murder charges in Chicago. Especially since them charges had him looking at fifteen years to life because of his record.
As one of the cops took him out the door, another one approached me and explained what was happening next. Standing directly in front of me, the officer gave me their plan of action. Starting out, he let me know that everyone in the house was going to be released except for Ja’Quan. The man told me that Jae was a wanted fugitive in Illinois for an attempted murder charge. What they didn’t know was that we were cousins and I was the one responsible for helping him escape to Battle Creek. The officer explained that once we were let go, I would receive a warrant in the mail within ninety days of the raid. When I heard that, I could relax. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t going to have to spend the night locked up in a cold cell.
Things were looking up for about thirty seconds, and then I heard the bad news. From my house, the officers where planning to go to my mom’s house. The team was just waiting on a search warrant because without one they couldn’t go into her house. The officers informed me that I was being released but if I left for my mom’s house, I was going to be arrested. Listening to the police talk sent me for a loop; I couldn’t figure out how they could legally do that. It didn’t seem like the team could get a search warrant for a house I had never sold drugs out of. What they were about to do was totally illegal but there was a small chance that they were just bluffing.
It definitely wasn’t a bluff. The swat team’s excuse for the warrant was that they were going to my mom’s in search of documentation. That was a good one! I gotta tell you, a raid, for rental papers? You be the judge! Even though my mom showed up at my place with a rental agreement, they wanted more. My mom had done the best she could with what I could tell her because I should’ve been prepared. The problem was, she brought the wrong paperwork. Instead of grabbing the falsified documents I had made up, she showed up with a blank rental agreement which really made me look bad. The officers finished up their work in my crib and we were released. Jae was taken by the swat team to sit in jail and wait for Cook County to pick him up.
Once I got let go, I walked out of the house and was greeted by my mom and girlfriend Jordyan. They both hugged me tight and let me know that they had my back no matter what happened. Again, I got the same message as before. My mom urged me to listen to the cops’ advice and not go anywhere near her house. The team sent some officers over to secure the residence and one had already pulled up as my mom was leaving. While they waited for the warrant, the officers wouldn’t let anyone in my mom’s house. Everyone inside was ordered out so they could search without any interference.
Disregarding what the officers said, I immediately told Jordyan to take me to my mom’s house. My girl tried to talk me down for a second until she realized my mind was already made up. Before we left, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and stood outside in the street chatting with some neighbors from my block. Jordyan quickly snatched me up and silently convinced me to take off. In the car, she cut straight into me saying I should have kept my mouth shut because really, I didn’t know if somebody on the block was responsible for the raid. I was only talking so I could explain my situation. I didn’t want anybody to think I was free because I snitched. Jordyan was definitely right so I gave her props.
From there, we proceeded to my mom's house so I could peep out the scene. When I pulled up on my mom’s street, I noticed two squad cars parked in front of her house with their park lights on. One car was a Michigan State trooper and the other was a County Sheriff patrol car. Staying undetected, Jordyan and I cruised by the house real slow so I could see for myself. Once we passed it, she turned around in a driveway and drove back by. As we crept past the house the second time, a BC K-9 Unit pulled up in the driveway. By then, I was so paranoid I told Jordyan to just drive to her apartment.
On edge with my nerves on ten, Jordyan and I talked for a few hours about the possible reasons for the raid. When I heard the news of what happened at my mom’s house, it took the situation to a whole ‘nother level. Initially, the search team went into her house searching for documentation only, but soon after things changed. After a few minutes inside of the house, the search took a turn for the worse. While in my mother’s basement, the search was suddenly stopped. Somehow a new warrant was drawn up and it turned into a search for illegal contraband.
Supposedly, while in the basement, the officers came across a dresser that had stems and seeds on the top of its wooden surface. In their opinion, that was probable cause for an all out search from top to bottom. And that my friend, that wasn’t good. There was just as much stuff in my mom's house, if not more than what they found at my house. This thing was getting worse and worse as the moments passed, I didn’t know what to do. There was so much stuff at my moms that at one point the team threatened to arrest her. But if it came down to it, unlike at my house, I was willing to take the rap for everything in her basement.
Once the search had finally concluded, the officers came up with over a pound and a half of crunch, $750 cash and a .25 caliber handgun. That meant in total between the two houses, the police had seized almost three pounds of weed, a hi-point 9millimeter handgun, a .44 magnum revolver and a .25 caliber pistol. The cash found was in my file cabinet near a quarter pound of weed with the .25 that was seized. With the super sized hit, I was knocked down to ground zero.
Now I was left with only the things that the Lord had originally blessed me with. Everything illegal that I had worked so diligently to possess had been taken in a moment’s time through me following the enemies plan. Luckily, I had God on my side. The Lord had blessed me with a house, my truck and trailer, and my car. Plus, He had given me the insight and instruction to acquire over $5,000 worth of lawn equipment that had gone untouched by the police. All of my equipment was inside my trailer parked in front of the house at 88 Wilts St. when the raid went down. My freshly painted Malibu was in my mom’s garage when they ran up in there and they didn’t touch that either.
Finally calming down a bit, I was able to get some rest. But only after Jordyan took a couple hours to tell me how stupid I was. Instead of having trust in her, the blessing God had sent me, I got caught with everything. Jordyan explained that I should have had all my stuff at her place, instead of where I had it and again, she was right. Instead of trusting Jordyan who was the love of my life at the time, I was too worried about her dipping into my stash and I was now left with nothing. When all along, deep in my heart I knew Jordyan wasn’t even cut like that. She had my back and always kept it one hundred. Even though I was selfish, Jordyan would show her love for me time and time again, meanwhile I wasn’t showing her the same.
The whole time we were together I had been super selfish. It was going to take years later for me to realize how much she truly meant to me. Jordyan was consistently bending over backwards to cater to my every need, but immaturity and selfishness had me blind to the fact. Lying in her queen size bed, I held Jordyan tight, when out of nowhere she extended her hand again. Jordyan let me know that what she had was mine and was willing to do whatever it took to help me move forward. Feeling the support of my baby was the only thing that could calm me down enough to fall asleep. Jordyan was totally independent, always had her own and needing nothing from me. All I could do was thank God for giving me someone like her.