- Oct 26, 2004
Police drug raid crashes toddler's party
Tuesday, February 8, 2005 Posted: 11:05 PM EST (0405 GMT)
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- Police on a drug raid burst into a home during a toddler's birthday party, startling children who were getting ready to eat their cake when the gun-toting officers crashed the party.
Amid wails from children and a few parents -- and a phone ringing incessantly with prospective drug buyers -- officers arrested a pregnant woman and accused her of selling marijuana from the house.
Shannon Hills Police Chief Richard Friend, who led the raid, found parents about to light candles on a cake adorned with green and white cartoon characters and a big "2" on top.
"The kids were up in high-chairs eating pizza and the cake was just about to be lit and cut when we kicked the party off a little early," Friend said Tuesday. "We got them something they wish they could return."
Police did not know a birthday party was going on when they decided to make the bust.
"The first thing I saw was the birthday table and cake, so I yelled for everyone to put away their guns," Shannon Hills Police Chief Richard Friend said. "You could see they had a nightmare-come-true. Everyone just froze and looked at me. The parents started crying and then the kids started crying."
Elizabeth Leah Sauls, 21, was hosting her niece's second birthday party at the time of Friday evening's raid. She was allegedly smoking marijuana in the master bedroom and continuing to sell pot out of the house as the police moved in. Friend said she received 35 calls requesting the drug in the short time that police were there.
"We barely had time to conduct interviews because the phone kept ringing with people wanting to buy narcotics," Friend said.
Sauls was arrested on drug charges but was released without bond because the jail was full, Friend said.
She appealed to the police that she was just selling the marijuana to pay for diapers and food for her 1-year-old, but police said they had been gathering evidence for weeks, making undercover purchases from the home, arresting buyers leaving the home and finding $860 and a pair of scales in the house.
The 2-year-old birthday girl and Sauls' 1-year-old were turned over to their grandmother, who was at the party.
"We have plenty of cases of people providing drugs in diaper bags around children, but at a birthday party? That's unusual," prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said.
True, trueNemo said: