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Ex-CIA Raided for Drugs, Sues

About a year ago, Operation Constant Gardener swept through Kansas and Missouri in an attempt to catch marijuana growers. It now looks like the operation netted two actual gardeners and they are suing to find out why.

Adlynn and Robert Harte are taking the Leawood County Sheriff and Johnson County to court to obtain documents that led to a search of their home last April. Their suspicion is that police agencies relied on records obtained from stores that sell indoor growing equipment, the same equipment used by illegal marijuana growers. But in the case of the Hartes, they were using the lights and other purchases to grow vegetables – an activity still completely legal in Kansas.

Although the basis for the false search seems to be that the couple purchased growing equipment, this won’t be discovered until the records the Hartes are seeking are released. The problem for law enforcement is that purchases of hydroponic systems, soils, lights and other cultivation equipment is perfectly legal – it shouldn’t be enough probable cause to instigate a search. It may very well be that the Hartes’ rights were violated.

The police, in turn, may be refusing to release the records sought because the methods they use to identify possible marijuana growers would be revealed. Marijuana growers may quit buying the equipment they use if it turns out the cops are tracking such purchases.

According to Tulsa World, the suit filed in Johnson County District Court said the couple and their two children - a 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son - were "shocked and frightened" when deputies armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests pounded on the door of their home around 7:30 a.m. last April 20.

The couple said they started growing squash and tomatoes with hydroponic equipment as an activity to share with their son. The couple was not arrested during the raid and nothing was seized.

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