An Illinois woman is under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency for buying organic fertilizer for her hibiscus plant.
According to Shorewood Patch, agents stormed the Shorewood home of 46-year-old Angela Kirking and raided her garage after noticing her shopping at an indoor garden center they’d been staking out. Four DEA agents and five Shorewood police officers invaded at 5 a.m. on Oct. 11, while Kirking was in bed asleep with her terrier.
"They had a gun pointed at me when they said, 'Are there any illegal substances in your house?'" Kirking recalled.
Police claimed there were 9.3 grams of marijuana in Kirking’s “art room.” Kirking does face painting at local art fairs.
The agency had been investigating Kirking for a month, searching her garbage and comparing her electric bill to her neighbor’s. They found and seized a “plant portion” from her patio, in addition to the “marijuana,” as well as three glass pipes and a bag, three scales, two books on how to grow marijuana, a computer, and a zip drive.
Kirking's attorney, Jeff Tomczak, is fighting to get the case thrown out, arguing there was no probable cause for the search, which resulted only in a pair of misdemeanor charges.
"The lady comes under investigation simply because she shopped at a particular store," Tomczak said during a Friday hearing.
In a complaint for a search warrant, a DEA agent wrote that he was staking out the store, Midwest Hydroganics, because previous surveillance there "led to the arrests of subjects for production of cannabis sativa plants and possession of cannabis."
Kirking became a target when she was spied leaving with “a green plastic bag containing unknown items."
Will County Judge Bennett Braun will decide whether to throw out the case later this month. He already expressed doubt for the agent’s argument that the fact that Kirking’s electric bill was higher than her neighbors indicated that she was growing weed. The judge interjected that the electric company informed him of his own higher-than-average bills.
Kirking said she had purchased organic fertilizer for her hibiscus plant, whose petals she eats. She says she’ll continue to shop at Midwest Hydroganics.
"I'd love to," she said. "I'd love to send all my friends there to see how far they take this.
Source: Shorewood Patch