Two former CIA employees were awakened early one morning last year by deputies carrying assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests pounding the door of their home in the Kansas City, Kansas suburb of Leawood. They were looking for a marijuana-growing operation. However, all they found in the basement were two squash, one melon and three tomato plants.
Now Robert and Adlynn Harte are suing, claiming that their 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son were “shocked and frightened” by the raid. “It was just like on the ‘Cops’ tv shows,” Robert Harte said. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ ready to storm the compound.” The suit claims that, during the raid, deputies “made rude comments” and implied that their son was a marijuana user; a drug-sniffing dog was employed. The deputies ultimately left after providing the couple with a receipt that said, “No items taken.”
The raid may have been prompted by the couple’s purchase of some hydroponic growing equipment from a local store. This apparently putting them on the radar of agencies in Kansas and Missouri, and their ‘Operation Constant Gardener’. The sweep netted marijuana plants and processed marijuana as well as growing equipment, cash and guns at several other locations…but not at the Harte’s house.
The suit states that, “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.”
During the raid, the Hartes were told they had been under surveillance for months. However, 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 couple’s attorney said that no one in the family uses illegal drugs and no charges were filed. Each of the Hartes were required to pass rigorous background checks for their previous jobs working for the CIA in Washington, D.C.