Several residents at the “Garden of Eden” sustainability garden in Arlington, Texas, claim that local police raided their farm because they thought tomato plants were marijuana plants.
The police reportedly damaged the garden's property and the crops during the Aug. 2 raid, which included a SWAT team (video below).
“They came here under the guise that we were doing a drug trafficking, marijuana-growing operation. They destroyed everything,” said garden owner Shellie Smith to WFAA-TV.
Apparently, an undercover officer and a helicopter surveillance crew believed there was probable cause that the wrong kind of plant was being grown in the garden and an armed raid was planned.
“They can’t even tell the difference between tomato plants and a marijuana drug cartel," said farm resident Quinn Eaker to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. "That’s just really bad intel.”
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According to the Garden of Eden's website, the raid lasted for an estimated 10 hours.
However, the City of Arlington stated: “No cultivated marijuana plants were located on the premises. Narcotics detectives and members of the tactical unit cleared the scene within 45 minutes.”
According to reports, police officers removed legally cultivated plants such as blackberries and okra. Police also removed pallets, tires and cardboard that were used for sustainability projects.
Instead of the damage done to the farm, police spokesman Christopher Cook seemed more concerned about the reaction on Facebook against the police.
“That’s what concerns me about their social media allegations," Cook told the Dallas Morning News. "Yes, they were initially handcuffed, however once it was determined it was secure they were taken out of handcuffs. Typically we wouldn’t do that, but they were compliant."