August 18, 2015

Lawsuit Filed over SWAT Raid on Texas Tomato Farm in Search of Marijuana

texas-tomato-farm-raidBack in August of 2013 a fully-outfitted assault force stormed the property belonging to members of the Garden of Eden, an intentional community located in Arlington, TX whose purpose is to live together in sustainable housing, grow organic food and pretty much just live life how they want to. The cops would call the Garden of Eden a hippie commune, and we all know there’s nothing like the opportunity to put a few hippies in their places to get the creative law enforcement juices flowing.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed by detective Perez of the Arlington Police Department on August 1, 2013, officers believed that the Garden of Edeners were high-level marijuana growers based on several rock-solid pieces of evidence, which were:

  • Undercover officers visited the property pretending to be party attendees and there were several places they weren’t allowed to access.
  • An “anonymous” tipster told police people who lived on the property were growing marijuana.
  • After requesting the Texas Department of Public Safety conduct a flyover of the property, agents reported back that they had spotted marijuana plants from the air. These “marijuana plants” turned out to be tomato plants.
  • The Garden of Eden’s website advertised “uber dank high vibe cuisine” which, according to Detective Perez (based on her whole 5 years of experience as a police officer) means they are growing and processing hundreds of pounds of marijuana because everyone knows that using the word “dank” is super-secret potcode that means “hippies grow weed”.

The website for the Garden of Eden also advertises “Uber Dank High Vibe Cuisine.” …your AFFIANT knows through her training and experience that “Uber Dank” is also slang for high quality marijuana. AFFIANT also knows that individuals who consume marijuana often refer to the sensation felt after consumption as a “high.” The website mentions the word high multiple times while describing the food. In addition, AFFIANT knows that some people consume marijuana by baking it into their food.

GET ON THE GROUND

In the early morning hours of August 2, 2013, the Arlington SWAT team rammed open the gate and front door, immediately awoke and forcibly handcuffed at gunpoint all eight of the adults then present at the small community, including the nursing mother of a two week old infant. After over two hours of sitting in handcuffs at the gunpoint of several SWAT team members, and after many demands to see a warrant, a warrant was finally produced which alleged the community was suspected of operating a drug trafficking operation and also of being heavily armed and dangerous (thus justifying a “no-knock” provision in the warrant).

Residents then were forced to spend the next eight hours under the watch of armed guards while their entire property was searched and their vegetable garden destroyed. Despite the fact that no drugs of any kind were found, Code Enforcement Officers didn’t hesitate to “justify” the search by loading the property owner up with citations for charges like having grass that was too high and firewood that wasn’t stacked properly.

To court we go

In a July press release by Garden of Eden Founder Quinn Eaker, the lawsuit was filed in federal court in order an effort to achieve justice and reform, as well as to benefit other intentional communities with any monetary reward they may receive. “In dedication to being an inspired example of how money can benefit the world instead of destroying it, I will donate one hundred percent of all money received from this suit to creating sustainable systems that can feed and house hundreds of people for the rest of their lives for free. We are willing to see this suit through to the very end, even if it takes ten years, all the way to the Supreme Court. We will have justice for the wrongs perpetrated against us by the very public servants who are sworn to serve and protect ‘we the people’ in exercising our Constitutional and God Given rights to life and liberty.”

Watch the video below to hear first-hand accounts of this botched police raid.

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