In 2012, a couple from Kansas became the target of a major criminal drug investigation, simply by making a purchase at a local gardening store.
Robert and Addie Harte are former employees of the CIA, and through the simple act of buying a hydroponic kit for growing tomatoes, they were held at gunpoint on suspicion of growing marijuana.
The investigation was held for seven months in total, and their 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son were completely sucked into the drama. Needless to say, this case exhibits some of the fundamental problems with the anti-drug war that is continuing in the USA, and is a perfect example of why this needs to end.
The police never found anything
The investigation began with a state trooper that had been assigned the task of waiting in the gardening store´s parking lot, collecting the license plates of customers and sending this information off for analysis. This was all for the purpose of investigating drugs. As a result of this information, the Harte´s became a part of the focus of a major drug investigation that included people who constantly shopped at gardening stores – because we live in a time where shopping in a gardening store can make you the target of a criminal investigation.
The police claimed that after sorting through the family´s garbage and finding some suspicious plant material, it was tested and the results showed positive for THC. But low and behold, after pounding down on the family´s door and holding them at gunpoint for two hours they found nothing. The plant material that had been discovered in the family´s garbage was in fact, loose leaf tea. So how did it come about that loose leaf tea tested positive for THC?
Tests can easily be manipulated
There have been a countless number of cases over the years where a certain substance has tested positive for an illegal substance, but there doesn’t seem to be any of the illegal substance in it. It is tremendously easy for the police to manipulate testing material for drugs to be positive when they require it to be so. It’s imaginable that they did not want to waste seven months of investigation on something that turned out to be homegrown tomatoes for a school project.
A researcher from South Carolina Center for Biotechnology found once that he could make a sample test positive to cocaine simply by exposing it to the atmosphere. He found that he could manipulate a test simply by allowing some oxygen, but that the reason for the positive result was simply air. There have been a number of extremely innocent products that have tested positive for drugs, and these include things as innocent as chocolate chip cookies, Jolly Ranchers, deodorant, spearmint, and patchouli.
Taking away something that they can’t give back
Authorities may defend this on the basis that they are trying to protect society, but all of the evidence suggests that they are putting society in harm’s way. At the end of the day, an entire family was held at gunpoint, and it is unlikely that they will ever forget or recover from such a traumatic experience.The traumatic experience the family endured, especially the children, for something that turned out to be a farce is just wrong.
It is unethical that anyone should be a victim of the law like this, especially when their behavior is innocent and completely in accordance with the law. If a proper investigation was actually conducted, the SWAT team could have saved themselves some embarrassment when they realized 20 minutes after arriving in the house that they were not going to find anything.
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