Did you know that buying hydroponic growing equipment is now probable cause for the government to raid your house?
Neither did Bob and Addie Harte, a Kansas couple who were raided by SWAT without a warrant last April because the authorities took notice of their purchase of indoor gardening items.
The illegal raid turned up “just six plants — three tomato plants, one melon plant and two butternut squash plants — growing in the basement”, and now the couple is suing the sheriff’s department.
The Associated Press reports:
Two former CIA employees whose Kansashome 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.
Adlynn and Robert Harte sued this week to get more information about why sheriff’s deputies searched their home in the upscale Kansas City suburb of Leawood last April 20 as part of Operation Constant Gardener.
It seem peculiar that the couple are former CIA agents. Perhaps government watches their former employees’ purchases more closely?
“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 lawsuit says.
“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?” Adlynn Harte told the Associated Press.
The lawsuit says the Harte children (7 and 13) were traumatized when deputies wearing bullet-proof vests armed with assault rifles pounded on their door.
“It was just like on the cops TV shows,” Robert Harte told The Associated Press. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ready to storm the compound.”
“You can’t go into people’s homes and conduct searches without probable cause,” said Harte’s attorney Cheryl Pilate.