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  Entertainment PI Office Raided By Government Unlawfully?


03-8-03 antiGUY
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Regular antiMUSIC readers may be familiar with our fictional Rock Detective Dirk Spenser and his (mis)adventures. But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction as government agents have targeted a real life entertainment private investigator.  

The home office of PI Dan Hanks was raided early Thursday morning by agents who at first claimed that they were from the office of "Homeland Security", and who later turned out to be drug agents from the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement who had somehow thought that Hank’s Investigator's Support Services was the heart of a major cocaine ring. 

The first irony comes from the fact that Hanks and his partner Fred Valis, who are better known as the Backstreet Detectives, apart from their long ties to PI work in the entertainment field have worked undercover for the DEA and FBI in the past. In fact, Hanks and his partner spent a decade as civilian undercover agents for the FBI and DEA until their cover was blown by an appearance on 60 Minutes.  

During their career they have been on assignment for every major tabloid and have been involved in a lot of high profile cases including the controversies surrounding Amy Fisher, Heidi Fleiss, the Menendez brothers and even did some investigating for the prosecutors in the O.J. trial. Their work has caused them to cross paths with major organized crime as well as the undercover ops involved in the Iran/Contra controversy. 

That is why it is puzzling that Dan Hanks would be the target of a drug trafficking investigation and why his home and office were raided by California drug agents last week who hoped to uncover a large “shipment” of cocaine.  At press time we were unable to obtain a statement from officials in California or discover what the investigators used as “probable cause” to obtain the search warrants. But Dan Hanks was left with what he feels is a “cover-up” arrest, a trashed apartment and office, missing items, destroyed equipment and a lot of questions. 

Dan Hanks relays his side of the story below and he cautions everyone; if this could happen to him, it can happen to anyone. 

At about 9:15am Thursday, March 6th, 2003 I was called down to the rental office of my apartment complex, having been told that someone had hit my car in the parking garage. I went down to the office to meet with the person who had "hit my car". Waiting there were two men who had "cop" written all over them. One of them said that his girlfriend had hit my car and that he would give me her insurance information if I would go with him to the garage where my car was. I went down the elevator to the parking garage and as I approached my car, In a scenario much like that depicted in the patch shown above (which was commissioned at taxpayer expense by their agency), a dozen men in the usual SWAT team outfits jumped out from behind the cars in the garage with guns drawn and shouting "Office of Homeland Security. Get down on the ground!" All of this action was caught on the apartment complex's security camera system! (I have the tape in a 
secure location.) 

They handcuffed me and dragged me up the stairwell to a point just outside of my apartment door. I asked what this was all about and was told by Special Agent Paul Gollogly of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement only that he would talk to me when their search was over. (Special Agent Paul Gollogly is an immigrant from Great Britain, who formerly worked in law enforcement in London.) About 2 1/2 hours later, I could hear them saying  "We must have missed the shipment. Let's bring in the dog" A dog, being handled by a California Highway Patrol Officer was brought in and was led through my apartment for about half and hour. After the dog searched without finding anything, I could hear the leader of the group, a bearded man with a British accent, saying  "We must have missed the shipment" to which the CHP dog handler responded  "The dog isn't alerting. There never has been any cocaine in this apartment.". I could hear the British officer talking about how they would have to arrest me on "something" to "cover their asses" for hitting the wrong place. Special Agent Paul Gollogly told them that to cover their asses, they could arrest me for "ex-felon with a gun". (I was convicted more then 25 years ago for a felony and haven't been in trouble with the law since.) I was advised that this was a case generated by the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Riverside office. 

Although I was not able to determine who the other officers were, receipts for items seized were left at my apartment and the names of the officers on them were Luis Marques and Matthew Harris.  The members of "Homeland Security" were officers from the United States Treasury Department (ATF) who were on loan for this raid. 

I was finally transported to the Los Angeles County Jail and booked in at 5:31 pm (about 8 hours after I was placed in Handcuffs. I Posted bond within the hour but was not released until 9:40 pm. 

When I finally got back to my apartment, it was in shambles. Files were dumped out. My chair in my office was cut open. My bed was overturned. Heating vents were removed. The placed looked like it had been vandalized by by thugs. In fact, it had! When I checked the receipt, no items seized were the list of items authorized by the warrant.

6 guns were seized that belonged to my partner, Fred Valis. Normally there wouldn't have been any guns at this office / apartment. However, my father-in-law had passed away recently and had left me several western style guns and rifles which I had sold to Fred. A small quantity of marijuana was seized. I have a prescription for marijuana, (as authorized under California law) as I can not take conventional pain killers to handle my severe back pain. I had not, in fact used any in several months. A movie script was seized. My application for a private investigator's license was seized and an NYPD Blue movie prop badge was seized. (I collect badges) The other badges mounted in cases on the wall were left at the apartment. Court papers regarding my license with the Department of Consumer Affairs were also seized. A receipt for my laptop computer, showing that it was returned to me after being loaned to the FBI was taken and a receipt for on of the guns was taken. It should be noted that although they seized all of the guns, they left hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The video security system which records all of the activities in my office / apartment was destroyed and the microphones were ripped out! The tapes were missing from the recorders but were not listed on the receipt! If the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Agents who conducted this raid were acting in a lawful manner, what fear did they have of being recorded? 

I contacted Hallye Jordon, press secretary of California's attorney general and she assured me that the attorney general would look into this and get to the bottom of these thugs actions.

If more information about this incident comes to light we will update you. Until then if you would like to see photos of the “aftermath” and related documents plus learn more about Dan Hanks you can visit his website. 
 


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