From Yahoo News:
Two former CIA employees whose Kansas home was fruitlessly searched for marijuana during a two-state drug sweep claim they were illegally targeted, possibly because they had bought indoor growing supplies to raise vegetables.
From now on all you gardeners please be careful when you go to the store because this is starting to be the norm across the United States. If you don’t believe me you could always check the case of Sergeant Corrigan and others. Before I get started into the article, I do want to give a quick history lesson concerning the 4th amendment, which seems to be heavy diluted or seldom followed by law enforcement. It states the following:
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.
Now with this in mind back to the article, the Harte’s former CIA employees had to stand by and watch as:
… sheriff’s deputies searched their home in the upscale Kansas City suburb of Leawood last April 20 as part of Operation Constant Gardener — a sweep conducted by agencies in Kansas and Missouri that netted marijuana plants, processed marijuana, guns, growing paraphernalia and cash from several other locations…. the couple and their two children — a 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son — were “shocked and frightened” when deputies armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests pounded on the door of their home around 7:30 a.m. last April 20.
This type of activity is happening way too often in this country, federal officers raiding folks who produce raw milk and selling to folks who want to buy raw milk, federal officers raiding a Gibson guitar store, D.C. metro police raiding and detaining without arresting a man for owning weapons, the list goes on and now the Harte’s at the hands of multiple state and local agencies in Kansas. Oh well the 4th amendment is apparently a suggestion, to all types of governments whether they be local, state or federal.
The reason behind the raid according to the Harte’s lawsuit that is currently pending against the City of Leawood:
… the Hartes’ attorney, Cheryl Pilate, said she suspects the couple’s 1,825-square-foot split level was targeted because they had bought hydroponic equipment to grow a small number of tomatoes and squash plants in their basement. “With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors,” the couple’s lawsuit says.
What does the raid find? 3 tomato plants, 2 butternut squash, and 1 melon plant. A significant waste of tax payer dollars literally fishing for evidence. There was a warrant served, but as far as the Harte’s could tell there wasn’t a shred of probable cause:
During the sweep, the court filing said, the Harte’s were told they had been under surveillance for months, but the couple “know of no basis for conducting such surveillance nor do they believe such surveillance would have produced any facts supporting the issuance of a search warrant.” Harte said he built the hydroponic garden with his son a couple of years ago. He said they didn’t use the powerful light bulbs that are sometimes used to grow marijuana and that the family’s electricity usage didn’t change dramatically. Changes in utility usage can sometimes lead authorities to such operations.
Talking about going out on a limb to get a warrant, how in the world did a judge find any probable cause other than a purchase for indoor gardening equipment? I believe they were going fishing, but it seems they really didn’t do their homework on the couple in question:
The lawsuit noted Adlynn Harte, who works for a financial planning firm, and Robert Harte, who cares for the couple’s children, each were required to pass rigorous background checks for their previous jobs working for the CIA in Washington, D.C.
Oops is the operative word here. They worked for the CIA the agency of all the agencies, especially when it comes to gathering information on individuals and governments. The police were out to make an arrest and to prove that they are worth what the taxpayers are paying for, too bad for them that:
deputies “made rude comments” and implied their son was using marijuana. A drug-sniffing dog was brought in to help, but deputies ultimately left after providing a receipt stating, “No items taken.” … no one in the Harte family uses illegal drugs and no charges were filed.
Failure, that has to make the police even more angry, well I guess they should lower their standards when they go into a situation without pertinent information as they so often do, or they could actually try reading and then following the guide of the 4th amendment. The Harte’s will not know the exact reasons behind this government intrusion until the suit is settled. In the mean time Adlynn Harte had the following to say:
If this can happen to us and we are educated and have reasonable resources, how does somebody who maybe hasn’t led a perfect life supposed to be free in this country?