garden

Kansas couple illegally raided by heavily-armed government agents for purchasing hydroponic garden equipment

Monday, April 22, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: hydroponics, government raid, abuse of power

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(NaturalNews) An aggressive war on drugs initiative in America's heartland recently crossed the legal threshold in a major way, prompting one Kansas couple to fight back against this unprovoked tyranny with a lawsuit. Adlynn and Robert Harte of Leawood, Kansas, two former CIA agents, recently had their home raided and their children terrorized by heavily-armed jackboots who falsely believed the couple's purchase of indoor hydroponic garden equipment was related to an illicit marijuana growing operation.

Robert reportedly purchased the growing equipment several years ago in order to grow tomatoes, squash, and other fruits and vegetables in his basement. Along with his 13-year-old son, the father of two built the hydroponic system himself, and had never used it to grow marijuana or any other federally-prohibited plants, as he was later accused. But shortly after purchasing the equipment, Robert and his wife became a target of law enforcement surveillance, a fact that was later revealed to them during a recent raid of their home, which was conducted by a multi-state cohort of law enforcement agencies.

On April 20, 2012, at around 7:30 a.m., heavily-armed sheriff's deputies wearing bullet-proof vests showed up at the Harte home unannounced and pounded on the family's front door. They then proceeded to enter the home with assault rifles in hand and a drug-sniffing dog by their side and conducted a thorough sweep of the home. According to court filings, the officers "made rude comments" during the raid, falsely accused the Harte's son of using marijuana, and "shocked and frightened" both children, only to turn up fruitless in the end.

Utilizing the Kansas Open Records Act, the Hartes responded to this illegal raid of their private property by filing a lawsuit in Johnson County District Court. The couple says the raid, which was conducted as part of a drug war initiative known as Operation Constant Gardener, was unjustified, and that Johnson and Cass County Sheriff's Offices, the Shawnee and Olathe Police Departments, and the Missouri Highway Patrol, all of which were behind the raid, had no probable cause or warrant to violate the couple's private property.

"[We] know of no basis for conducting such surveillance nor do [we] believe such surveillance would have produced any facts supporting the issuance of a search warrant," says the couple, as quoted by CBS St. Louis.

Exposing corruption of Operation Constant Gardener could facilitate future federal lawsuit

The couple is hoping to expose the so-called evidence the agencies used as a basis to conduct the raid, in order to bring to light this obvious abuse of power. Thus far, the agencies involved have refused to comment on the lawsuit, but the revealing of the open records could pave the way for a future federal civil rights lawsuit, according to reports.

"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," states the actual lawsuit filed by the couple concerning the general purchase of indoor growing equipment.

"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 is quoted as saying to the Associated Press.

Sources for this article include:

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com

http://www.activistpost.com

http://www.kctv5.com

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