Kansas State police and sheriff’s deputies raided the home of Adlynn and Robert Harte, two former CIA employees, during a search for marijuana in a two-state drug sweep.
“It was just like on the cops TV shows,” Robert Harte (pictured) told the Associated Press. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ready to storm the compound.”
According to a lawsuit filed by the Hartes, their two children were “shocked and frightened” by assault weapon-armed police wearing bulletproof vests, who pounded on the front door of their home at about 7:30 a.m. on April 20, 2012.
The lawsuit also claims that the Hartes were told by police that law enforcement had been watching them for months, but that the couple knows “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.”
The Hartes’ attorney, Cheryl Pilate, claims their home was targeted because they recently purchased hydroponic products to grow tomatoes and squash 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,” says a lawsuit filed by Pilate on behalf of the Hartes.
Their lawsuit seeks “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 – a sweep conducted by agencies in Kansas and Missouri that netted marijuana plants, processed marijuana, guns, growing paraphernalia and cash from several other locations,” reports The Associated Press.
“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,” said Adlynn.
“You can’t go into people’s homes and conduct searches without probable cause,” Pilate said.
Source: Associated Press