The officers gathered Thursday night inside the garage of the Independence Police Department’s sub-station on Truman Road. They were being briefed on their upcoming assignment: a high-risk warrant service on a man and woman suspected of dealing drugs.

The officers gathered Thursday night inside the garage of the Independence Police Department’s sub-station on Truman Road. They were being briefed on their upcoming assignment: a high-risk warrant service on a man and woman suspected of dealing drugs.

This would be what police call a “no knock” warrant.

Police applied for this kind of warrant because of information they gathered on the man. He owns many guns and he’s dealing drugs. He could be armed. The investigation found that the man wouldn’t be shy about using them if he felt threatened.

There were guns at his home during three previous drug buys within the last two weeks, a covert investigation found.

The man and woman allegedly sold high-grade marijuana, Oxycontin (a powerful painkiller) and other prescription drugs.

The search and arrest warrants stem from a three-week investigation by the department’s Career Criminal Unit.

The man they wanted was 27-year-old Matt Coy, who lives with his mother at her home on the 3300 block of South Leslie Avenue in south-central Independence.

Coy is a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty in December 2006 in Cass County Circuit Court for possessing drug chemicals to make methamphetamine.

A judge suspended a sentence and placed him on five years probation. Now, police said, he’s back at it.

“The guy lives at home with his mom and was dealing drugs out of the house,” said IPD Sgt. Marty Cavanah, who supervises the highly successful Career Criminal Unit.

Thursday’s warrant  was for probation violation for suspected drug dealing and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“That’s someone we think needs to go back to jail,” Cavanah said. “They continue doing it. So...”

Getting ready

The department’s Special Response Team executed the arrest warrant.

Six officers gripping assault rifles rode in the Bearcat, a tank-like bullet- and bomb-proof vehicle. The officers looked much like U.S. troops in Afghanistan but dressed in all black.

A transport truck with about 10 officers, wearing the same equipment, followed the Bearcat.

Cavanah explains why the Bearcat is used in high-risk warrant operations. “If someone is inside and starts shooting, the officers have protection. They can shoot back. Plus, it’s an intimidating thing to see.”

Officers “had eyes” on the house and radioed back to the team the movements of the Coy and the woman.

The woman left the house in a PT Cruiser as the SRT officers and detectives were driving to the scene to arrest her and the man.

Police decided to make a car stop and have her detained. They had an arrest warrant for her, so it did not matter if she was at the house or not.

Coy was spotted walking between houses, leaving the property.

SRT pulled to a side road near the American Medical Response headquarters on South Dodgion Street, a few blocks away from the suspect’s home.

They didn’t want to invade the home if they were not totally sure he was home.

“We don’t want to go there when he’s walking up to the house,” Cavanah said. “He could take off.”

About 15 minutes later, the man was back home.

Making their move

The Bearcat drove into the yard. Officers jumped out and raided the home.

The front door was open and unlocked, so the team didn’t have to knock it down.

They rolled two flash-bang grenades into the home before entering. Officers tossed one inside the front door and another in the basement before entering.

Flash-bang explosions emit a bright flash of light that disorients a subject for a few seconds so officers can apprehend the person without incident.

“They’re also loud as hell,” Cavanah said.

The team arrested Coy, who was shirtless, without any problem. The man was in the doorway of a back bedroom when officer barged inside.

“He was crying,” said one of the SRT officers of what Coy was doing after the raid.

His mother was in another bedroom. Officers did not arrest her. Shortly after the raid, her face was in her hands while sitting on the front steps, visibly upset. She left the house holding a fresh pair of clothes.

The search

Investigators combed through every inch of the house. They rifled through stacks of photos, shook each item of clothing, and looked in the ceiling for drugs. Some of the photos were of Coy shooting guns.

They found marijuana at the home. Coy told officers the guns were the woman’s. But the woman told police that he kept the guns to be ready for Armageddon in 2012. He needed the guns to be prepared.

They swept the house to ensure no one else was hiding.

During the search, officers found an unloaded .44-caliber revolver. The suspect wasn’t carrying the handgun.

Information from the investigation said he had seven guns. Where are they? Police got the answer from the girlfriend, who told investigators the man stashed them at a relative’s house less than a mile away.

Cavanah and officers drove to that house. They returned 40 minutes later.

Cavanah pulled two boxes filled with bullets, two handgun cases and several rifle cases.

They recovered six guns and box after box of ammunition.

Investigators expect to file state or federal charges against the couple. He’s facing distributing drug charges and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The U.S. Attorney and Jackson County Prosecutor next week will likely file charges against the man.

Coy probably just likes guns and is not a gun peddler, Cavanah said. But a drug dealer who has that many guns will use them for protection.

“They’re afraid of getting robbed,” he said. “People in this business are not all real nice.”

A good tip

Independence police got word of the man’s suspected drug dealing through a confidential source who told Kansas City Police’s Drug Unit. It’s a good example of the cooperative effort of IPD’s career criminal unit, federal authorities and KCPD. “We all work together for the same goal, and that’s to get bad guys off the street,” Cavanah said.

Cavanah said the interest is in getting the guns off the street. The drugs, too, are important.

“But if I say, ‘This guy down here just selling dope. But this other guy is selling guns and dope.’ Which one’s more dangerous to the public? I’m going to want to spend my resources and time trying to get the guy with the drugs and guns.”