The owner of a Texas-based trucking company has filed a lawsuit in Houston against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in connection to the November 2011 shooting incident that ended with an informant dead.
The Vickery Law Firm will represent Craig Patty, owner of Craig Thomas Expeditors, in the lawsuit that also targets Javier Pena with the Houston DEA office, Harris County Sheriff's Office, and additional federal and state law enforcement officers and agents.
Patty hired Lawrence Chapa to drive one of his 18-wheel commercial trucks in September 2011 following a criminal background check, according to the statement released by The Vickery Law Firm, but Chapa was working as an undercover DEA informant and did have a criminal history.
Chapa used the vehicle to perform duties for the DEA "without Patty's consent or knowledge," according to the statement.
One of the trips with the truck included one from south Texas on Nov. 21, 2011 when, according to the statement, Chapa had met with drug dealers and picked up and transported illegal drugs. Deputies and DEA agents exchanged gunfire after drug cartel assassins intercepted Patty's truck in northwest Houston.
Chapa died after he suffered eight gunshot wounds.
The Vickery Law Firm added the following in its statement:
Instead of being apologetic for commandeering an innocent citizen's property for a government sting operation or otherwise offering to repair the damage done to the truck, neither the Sheriff's Department nor the DEA did anything to repair Patty's property or apologize for its unlicensed use. In fact, stunningly, Patty was informed that if he did not remove the damaged truck from government property, he would incur storage charges. To further add insult to injury, the government agents demanded and coerced under threat of duress that Patty authorize a search warrant of his home and business in an effort to gather further information on their drug sting gone wrong. Given the immense pressure and threats placed upon him by law enforcement officials, patty consented. Additionally, he has lived in constant fear that the drug cartels would, in some way, believe that he authorized or otherwise knew about the use of his truck in this sting gone wrong. He not only did NOT authorize the use of his truck for government use, but the government has now destroyed his property, caused him immense business and personal losses in the furtherance of its own operations, and left Patty to pick up the pieces on his own.
The Vickery Law Firm believes that the Government has overstepped its authority and has wrongfully treated an innocent civilian. To that end, today, on behalf of Patty, it sued all the federal and state agencies who were involved in the wrongful use of Patty's business property as well as those Government employees who authorized such appalling behavior. Patty's suit for Justice has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.