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Texas Deputy Killed in Dawn No-Knock Drug Raid

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #815)
Consequences of Prohibition

A Burleson County, Texas, sheriff's deputy leading a dawn, no-knock drug raid was shot and killed by the homeowner last Thursday. Sgt. Adam Sowders becomes the 40th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Deputy Adam Sowders was killed executing a no-knock drug raid over some marijuana plants. (
Although Sowders was killed early last Thursday morning, we delayed reporting the story because the sheriff's department refused for several days to release search warrant information that would have verified it was indeed a drug-related search warrant.

According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Sowders had obtained a search warrant for the residence after obtaining information that the homeowner was growing marijuana and possibly had stolen guns. The warrant was a "no-knock" warrant, meaning police could forcibly enter the residence without giving residents a chance to respond.

Sowders, the first officer through the door, was shot and killed by homeowner Henry Goedrich Magee, 28, who has now been charged with capital murder. But Magee's attorney, famed Houston defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin, said Magee and his pregnant girlfriend were sleeping in the home when they heard "explosives" going off and loud pounding at the door. Moments later, the door burst open and a person Magee couldn't identify entered the residence. Magee grabbed a rifle leaning against his bedroom door frame and shot Sowders. According to DeGuerin, Magee shot him because he "believed the man rushing in was an intruder and he needed to defend himself."

Magee has a felony and a misdemeanor drug conviction, but DeGuerin said all investigators found inside the trailer were a few marijuana plants and four guns that were all legal. DeGuerin pointed at the no-knock warrant as a contributing factor in Sowder's death.

"The danger is that if you're sitting in your home and it's pitch black outside and your door gets busted in without warning, what the hell are you supposed to do?" DeGuerin said.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)

When a mother of three was killed during a drug raid, the offending officer isn't charged and there's no outcry from the media. In this case, when it's the officer who suffers the consequences of these no-knock raids, the homeowner has the book thrown at him. One gets the feeling that when law enforcement kills someone who is target of a drug raid, they are expendable. Executing these no-knock search warrants appear to law enforcement a license to kill. There has to be some elected official to rein in this ubiquitous use of excessive force and give some protect to a homeowner when their door is broken down in these raids. Fortunately, this suspect has good legal representation. That's rare in these cases.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 6:35pm Permalink
Tim Ozzy (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

WE have  every single RIGHT to  DEFEND OUR  HOMES! DO NOT  fall for theirr LIES  of jurisdiction, in MY HOME "I"  RULE... not  any "criminal, wearing a  badge  or not!

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 2:03pm Permalink
Anonymous353535434 (not verified)

In reply to by Tim Ozzy (not verified)

Excellent post.


Anyone coming into a home unannounced in the middle of the night can be legally shot on the spot. This pig died and is roasting in hell because his own stupidity. 

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 7:55pm Permalink
rayray (not verified)

In reply to by anyone/anywhere (not verified)

Seems like there were several rapes in New Mexico recently conducted using warrants. I've never been arrested, and I'd say the entire notion behind modern law enforcement is State thuggery. The only peace officers that exist anymore exist because of their individual choice. The institution is designed to protect the interests of the State, and the State is nothing but an instrument of murder.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 3:01pm Permalink
LawyeredUp (not verified)

In reply to by anyone/anywhere (not verified)

I'm a lawyer and I would have to agree with houghnagle. I've seen far too many cases where the facts were manipulated to close a case and numerous examples of corruption. There are some good cops, some honest judges, but sadly corruption abounds. Justice is for people that can afford it. 

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:53pm Permalink
Mike Ference (not verified)

In reply to by LawyeredUp (not verified)

PA judges, elected officials and cops are bought and sold like stolen merchandise at an outdoor flea market. Cash for Kids scandal in Luzerne County, PA is a textbook example.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 12:41am Permalink
TinaFred007 (not verified)

In reply to by houghnagle (not verified)

Yes there are bad cops who make the rest look bad, but there are a lot of fine law enforcement officers who do their duty and protect and serve. My uncle was a Stanislaus County Sheriff for 32 years. In all his time he drew his weapon 3 times. Twice he shot and killed a man. But he had no choice. However it devastated my uncle. He had to take time off and see a shrink. You know there are exotic dancers out there who dance there way through college and are not whores, but there are a few strippers who make other dancers look bad. You have good corporate CEO's and then you have the bad ones who make the news because they ripped of their investors or stole from the company 401k. You got good bankers and bad bankers. There are people on welfare who are using the system to get their education and make something of themselves, and then there are those who sit around on their ass drinking beer and smoking pot, but you can't make a blanket statement that all dancers are whores, all corporations are money grubbing theives or that all people on welfare are lazy. AND NOT ALL COPS ARE CORRUPT. It's the stories that grab the media and only portray all the bad. If you don't like cops, the next time you're in trouble, try calling a crackhead then and see if they can save you.

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 2:16am Permalink
Stan47 (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

A complicating factor is the fact that under our "justice" system, the resident of the trailer has NO right to armed self-defense, owing to a prior felony conviction.

I know a man in his sixties who was convicted of a felonious robbery at the age of 18. Since serving his year or so jail sentence, this guy has been a model citizen: got his younger brother drug-free and on the path to productive employment; owns a respectable & profitable business and the real estate it occupies. Yet because of an act committed more than forty years ago--in which no one was injured or killed--he is legally at the mercy of anyone who comes at him with harmful intent. That's just wrong.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:32am Permalink
ralph martin (not verified)

In reply to by Stan47 (not verified)

I agree i think that law is bullcrap. So if someone is a felon and they are stripped of their 2nd amendment right, why are they allowed any other rights? And if we believe them to still be a danger why are they not still in jail? If all that is stopping them from being a repeat offender is gun ownership then i think they ought not be allowed free at all.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 9:52pm Permalink
Stan47 (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

A complicating factor is the fact that under our "justice" system, the resident of the trailer has NO right to armed self-defense, owing to a prior felony conviction.

I know a man in his sixties who was convicted of a felonious robbery at the age of 18. Since serving his year or so jail sentence, this guy has been a model citizen: got his younger brother drug-free and on the path to productive employment; owns a respectable & profitable business and the real estate it occupies. Yet because of an act committed more than forty years ago--in which no one was injured or killed--he is legally at the mercy of anyone who comes at him with harmful intent. That's just wrong.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:34am Permalink
Victim is me. (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

To whoom it is concerning:


Any drug warrants in the US are as easy to get as if the court were the FISA Court or if the LO/LE were eating Cracker Jacks for the purpose of a warrant, guaranteed to get the warrant.... guaranteeed!


Bob in Rohnert Park, Ca

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 2:46pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Someone's gonna get shot in these raids, how is that not to be expected? And to what end? How do you justify putting a pregnant woman in the middle of a firefight? Are they idiots, or Nazis, or what? They seriously didn't see that coming? Sheesh. We ain't quite there yet, people, to borrow from George Carlin.
Tue, 12/24/2013 - 7:04pm Permalink
Dan Simonds (not verified)

Most people own guns to protect themselves against intruders. When somebody kicks in your door in the middle of the night un invited, they are an intruder.  I would like to see people shoot first when intruders kick in their door. Maybe law enforcement will get the idea that breaking into a persons home un invited will get them killed. I don`t want to see ANYBODY get killed over drugs but this needless killing innocent people needs to stop one way or the other.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:14pm Permalink
Maxwell (not verified)

I did a quick little search for "Adam Sowders" on Google just out of curiosity to see how the media outlets would headline this story and paint their own picture of it. Funny how all of them took roughly the same tone with near total consideration for the sheriff as a victim, but none for the family that was terrorized in the middle of the night by a gang who came to their house with weapons, knocking their doors down, all while concealing their identity.

What reasonably sane person wouldn't think that they're suddenly being invaded and attacked by night prowlers who conduct themselves this way? Why wouldn't your first reaction be to do anything and everything to protect yourself and your family from the intruders?

I'd like to think that their justice department would be smart enough to see how unreasonable and ridiculous it is to serve no-knock raids based on suspicion of marijuana plants, but I don't think they have that capacity.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:46pm Permalink
Tod (not verified)

You can bet your bottom dollar that I would be voting for Henry Magee to be found innocent of ANY wrong-doing.   The Sheriff's personal estate and each of the leo's involved in this debacle needs to pay Magee for emotional pain and suffering by setting up this scenario whereby Magee was put in a position of having to take another life in order to defend his own and the surviving involved leo's need to serve time for attempted murder.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 9:20pm Permalink
Earl (not verified)

In reply to by Tod (not verified)

Agree with that one. I would have doing very same if some is doing to my place.

Explode in background and sound of door break open. I'll grab gun and shoot anyone who walk into my room to defense my family.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 6:03pm Permalink
Antonio Buehler (not verified)

There is absolutely zero reason for the homeowner to be charged with capital murder. If someone violently breaks into your home you should be able to defend your life with violent force. There's no way to expect the homeowner to know that the invaders are cops. These idiot cops need to go back to the days where they knocked on the door and waited for someone to open it.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:07pm Permalink
tempname_79056 (not verified)

In reply to by Antonio Buehler (not verified)

A no knock was redicilious unless they knew something we still dont yet. Hank is a convicted felon he should have never had the gun.... bne or not sorry that is the law....i also heard the rest of the force ran as soon as shots were fired instead of taking out the was all wrong from the start i have no simpathey for either the only one i feel bad for is adams mom and brothers....bcsd get it together before u get someone else killed.
Thu, 12/26/2013 - 12:49pm Permalink
DDean (not verified)

In reply to by tempname_79056 (not verified)

not the law in TX, his offenses did not lead to lifetime bans on weapon ownership, it was a 5 year nan. he legally owned 4 guns and the fifth was legally owned by his mother.
Tue, 12/31/2013 - 12:04pm Permalink
CATATONICUS (not verified)

Same thing happened several years ago in San Marcos.  Cops come in,  5 am,  Rusty was sleeping, his girlfriend beside him.  When the door burst open, it was dark. The IMMEDIATELY shot his dog.  Rusty went for his gun with no idea of who was breaking in.  They shot him dead!   and  THEY FOUND NO DRUGS!


When will we understand  that it is  US AGAINST THEM!!   

There is NO "justice system"  in America,  only a "Legal system".

A  system bent on making it harder and harder for the "average" person to live,  creating a "slave market"  for the rich folks.    With McWalmart wages  and benefits.  Keep them down and they will be easier to control. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:40pm Permalink
totaly amazed (not verified)

at what point when you break into a mans house do the cops start yelling its po po we have a warrant? was that mans life worth couple pot plants...this is why they need to announce thems selves ! i understand why they have no knock warrents but once your in the house and you see people thats when you yell po po we got a warrant get down  this cop enter the mans bedroom and got killed cause he dident yell po po cops are wrong on this one for sure they dont want me on jury...its sad day in  the usa.

when stuff like this happens

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:43pm Permalink
Somedood (not verified)

In reply to by totaly amazed (not verified)

How was he supposed to know they were the cops even if they yelled it. In the dark, it could of been anyone.
Wed, 12/25/2013 - 10:30am Permalink
Maxwell (not verified)

Announcing themselves isn't good enough, in my opinion. There's too many things that can still go wrong. The residents could still be asleep and not hear anyone yelling. I know I've slept through all kinds of loud noises which I only knew about because they would wake my wife up, but not me. Even if everyone in the residence woke up, it's likely that they're too disoriented to realize what's happening, so they might grab guns to protect themselves, only to end up shot or as in this case, a cop gets killed.

No-knock raids are just a bad idea, most likely cooked up by law enforcement agencies who wanted to continue to get as much federal funding as possible by spending more and more money on military grade equipment and more and more raids, all while lining their own pockets, no doubt.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:22pm Permalink
Jmom (not verified)

In reply to by Maxwell (not verified)

I mostly agree with you, except the part where they mostly do it for federal funding.  Granted, that is a MAJOR factor, but they do it MOSTLY for the property they can seize and sell without due process.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 5:35pm Permalink
ConcernedPatriot (not verified)

I'm siding with the homeowner whether he had plants and legal guns anyhow. Under the same circumstances I think anyone else would have reacted the same. What does our Constitution and Bill of rights say about illegal searches?? This cop got what he deserved. Knock, present your warrant, let the accused read it, wait for accused person's lawyer to show up, then come in if it's a legal search.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 12:30am Permalink
Alan Batterman (not verified)

In reply to by ConcernedPatriot (not verified)

If they are afraid the suspect will run if they knock and ID, cover all possible exits.  If they are afraid he will flush the drugs, if he is a big time dealer, you can't flush that much dope. 

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 6:28pm Permalink
Guy Hawkes 123 (not verified)

I would have done the same thing, except I would've got them all.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:11am Permalink
wkmtca (not verified)

what asshat police dept would put their officers in such a position?  of course people are going to defend themselves when their house is broken do they know it is police?  what a stupid, stupid thing to do.  i feel bad for the officer killed but i feel just as bad for the people that killed him and now are charged for doing nothing more than anyone would do.  

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:54am Permalink
Blair Copeland (not verified)

The reason these No-Knock warrants are "NEW" is because they are illegal.  The problem is we fools have put idiot in power that THINK we expect them to stop and control free will.  That is not what this country was founded on and that is not what the constitution allows. The 4th amendment literally says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."


No REASONABLE person would interpret that to mean the police can upon submission of a warrant burst through the door in the middle of the night without announcing themselves.


These fools think they are playing a video game and they are somehow going to win.  There is no war here to win, this is simply part of the process of law, do not allow them to scare you into believing these actions are necessary. 


They take advantage of the judges that grant these warrants based LITERALLY on lies and emotive language to enhance what they can do, because there is no repercussion, normally. 


The death of officers IS A FORESEEABLE consequence and frankly if I was on the jury based on this article, I would not find the man guilty of any crime.


I  would rather a criminal go free and never be found than a single innocent person be abused, threatened or violated in the process of investigation the crime--even if the crime was against me.  If they police are allowed to be thugs, then where do we draw the line?  Threats for theft?  Bruises for assaults? Broken bones for murders?

There is no gray area here, either the actions are legal and constitutional or they are not.


It is NOT CONSTITUTIONAL to burst in a door, because you "BELIEVE" that someone committed a crime because you were able to convince Joe Blow to swear to it.


There have to be consequences to heavy handed government actions,  because if they can do it to someone--THEY CAN DO IT TO ANYONE AND YOU ARE ANYONE!!!


So, please, support your police in their duty to act legally.


But DO NOT SUPPORT ILLEGAL ACTIONS DONE IN YOUR NAME TO PROTECT YOU, because SOMEDAY they act in your neighbor's name and burst in your door!

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:03am Permalink
tempname_79056 (not verified)

In reply to by Blair Copeland (not verified)

We are all assuming here that they had nothing to support the warrent. And some back woods redneack judge just signed it cause he dont know no better..... Stop...dont act like we dont know the law...or even that we twisted it in our favor. The bcsd and a judge found enough evidence to enter the home, was the raid conducted correctly. after shots were fired the team ran for cover upon rentry of the home they found hank on the ground with his head in his hands i got 5 different versions of how this played out so lets stop ASSUMING and wait for the facts....
Thu, 12/26/2013 - 1:16pm Permalink
grendal113 (not verified)

In reply to by tempname_79056 (not verified)

You know if the police hadn't "assumed" we wouldn't be in this position. The cop that got the warrant was the cop killed. Sounds like justice to me. let the guy go back to his wife ohhh and pay to fix his house.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 9:17pm Permalink
JuryNullification (not verified)

This is the perfect case for jury nullification. Disregard the judges instructions and do what's right! If you do not understand the nullification principle then I think it about time to educate yourselves!!!
Wed, 12/25/2013 - 3:48am Permalink
Ritepath (not verified)

In reply to by JuryNullification (not verified)

As a juror you/we have the ultimate power to judge both.


Judges can try and intimidate jurors with threats, but as a juror it's your right. Make them replace you with an alternate, and go to the press on why you were dismissed.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 4:52pm Permalink
Maxwell (not verified)

In reply to by JuryNullification (not verified)

Furthermore, never make it publicly known that you support jury nullifcation, or there's a good chance you'll be taken off of the list of selectees for jury duty. Talk with your friends and family about it in private if you must, but spread the word as far as possible.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 5:43pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

.Why a no knock raid for plants?They're notoriously hard to dispose of,as are weapons.If they'd just knocked,everyone would be alive and well.This is clearly the fault of bad planning or no plan at all.It could be blamed on the way drug raids are routinely carried out in the USA today.Heavily armed men in body armor who get all pumped up on adrenaline and then smash down the door while everyone yells at the same time.Often,both doors are hit at the same time,adding to the confusion.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 6:12am Permalink
Dave f (not verified)

Why are they treating that marijuana report as a major drug raid. the report was a few plants growing. It wasn't a  field, and who cares anyways. While everyone is responsible for their own decisions that officer paid for his poor decision, and for the people that get shot during these raids. The only one's who deserve it are the ones kicking in doors. I would expect the same treatment if i went around kicking in doors. Which i why i do not. I like living my life. And by the way in indiana It is legal to shoot an officer that comes in with no warrant. It isnt simple enough to just shout out "__blank___ city police!" because criminals can do that to. And all it takes is a second of distraction and its too late. The man was right to shoot first, especially in the dark with his pregnant wife in the house. Realistically, what would it have hurt to yell through the door about being an officer with a warrant. could he really flush the plants down a toilet. Could he incinerate them that fast, or swallow them. Even if he tried to burn them quickly there would be remains. That officer was not thinking. It wasn't heroin or meth or something that could easily be flushed which is the whole reason behind these warrants. They serve as a tool to get in quickly before the drugs/evidence can be destroyed. It is a dangerous game. and when innocent people are killed, It is a travesty. They should never had allowed a warrant like this to be served for a couple pot plants, and illegal guns. these items would not be easily destroyed. They could have came with a normal warrant and no one would be dead. They would have the evidence they were looking for, and he would have a misdemeanor instead of all this B/S.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 8:25am Permalink
Tom Jefferson (not verified)

In reply to by Dave f (not verified)

I agree with most of you regarding this particular subject. The fact is that there is no such thing as a "Knock & Announce warrant. They are all "no knock warrants." They say that some of these warrants should be served in the "daytime". This is a sham, and the sooner you people understand, that we are at war. The police are not your friends. They have no duty to protect you. They will only protect each other and and the criminal politicians they work for, that means even to lie, commit perjury and deceive the public. It is time for you "sheeple" to take back control of our government. It appears that we were unable to run all of the British out of this country and they have somehow gotten back control. We also need to think further down the road and remember what happened to the German Nazi's. These police are war criminals along with the people who they are working for. It is going to take more people to realize that their constitutional rights have been taken from them. It is time to arm your selves and get ready for the second revolution.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:58pm Permalink
blkwdw86 (not verified)

There is no discernible difference between the mafia and government. Both are gangs involved in endless criminal activity. Both fight each other and everyone else for control of what they perceive to be "their turf." Both run protection rackets. Both are involved in extortion. Both sell guns and drugs. Both will persecute the innocent, and if the innocent presents enough force to resist them, they'll call reinforcements and greater force. Do something to one of either, and they'll gang up and retaliate. Someone explain a difference, because I sure don't see any.
Wed, 12/25/2013 - 8:29am Permalink
rtpaine (not verified)

In reply to by blkwdw86 (not verified)

The difference between the Mafia and our Government is the Mafia makes a profit and our Gov. keeps going further in dept.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 1:46pm Permalink

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