Two former CIA employees are suing Kansas police, claiming a raid on their home was unfounded. They say a SWAT team descended on their home in April 2012 without a warrant in search of contraband, only to find vegetables growing in their basement.
Adlynn and Robert Harte claimed that even after repeated
attempts for clarification, police have refused to divulge any
reasoning for the raid, the AP reports. They believe the decision
came from government officials who knew the Hartes had purchased
equipment from a store selling hydroponics – which can be used to
grow marijuana, among other plants.
Law enforcement agencies across the US have made April 20, the
day of the 2012 raid, a favorite day for crackdowns because
marijuana users have long used the date for a celebration of the
drug. The sweep on the Hartes' home came as Kansas and Missouri
police were searching other suspected growing operations.
“With little or no other evidence of 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,” reads the couple’s lawsuit.
They also sought details on whether the sheriff’s department in
the upscale Kansas suburb of Leawood was acting “based on a
well-founded belief of marijuana use and cultivation at the
targeted addresses, or whether the raids primarily served a
Robert and Adlyn said their two children, aged 7 and 13, were
“shocked and frightened” when a SWAT team wielding assault
weapons pounded on their door just after 7:00 in the
“If this can happen to us and we are educated and have
reasonable resources, how does [sic] somebody who maybe hasn’t led
a perfect life supposed to be free in this country?” Adlynn
asked in an interview with the AP.
Robert Harte said that the family had three tomato plants, one
melon and two butternut squash growing in the basement after using
high powered lights to build the hydroponic garden years
“It was just like on the COPS TV shows,” he added. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ready to storm the compound.”