DEA Raided This Woman’s House After She Shopped At A Garden Store
Angela Kirking never thought shopping for garden supplies would lead to agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration waking her up with guns drawn, but that’s what happened last October.“I bought a bottle of organic fertilizer, a 16-ounce bottle,” said Kirking, a 46-year-old face-paint artist. “Three weeks later I was raided by DEA.”
The DEA is refusing to answer questions about the law enforcement operation targeting an Illinois garden store that has netted Kirking and at least 10 other people. But Kirking and her lawyer contend it’s a case of misplaced priorities and federal overreach. They’re asking why the DEA is treating ordinary customers of a garden store selling hydroponic equipment as if they were major drug dealers.
The Oct. 11, 2013, raid on Kirking’s house, first reported by Patch, involved four DEA agents and five Shorewood, Ill., police officers, according to a police report. Its alleged yield from Kirking’s art room, whose entrance is guarded by beads: 9.3 grams of marijuana, or less than one-third of an ounce.
Now Kirking’s defense lawyer, former Will County (Ill.) prosecutor Jeff Tomczak, is trying to have the search warrant and the two misdemeanor charges it produced thrown out.
Kirking’s visit to the garden store, Midwest Hydroganics, was the predicate for the whole investigation of her, according to Tomczak. “100 percent nothing else,” he said, calling that far too thin a thread on which to base a search warrant.
In the search warrant application, a Braidwood, Ill., police officer assigned to the DEA, Donn Kaminski, wrote that he had observed Kirking exit the garden store “carrying a green plastic bag containing unknown items.” Kaminski stated he had "previously conducted numerous investigations that involved the surveillance of Midwest Hydroganics and persons purchasing items at Midwest Hydroganics, which has led to the arrest of suspects for production of cannabis sativa plants and production of cannabis."
I’m willing to bet that if that people who bought their equipment from Home Depot used it to grow pot. I suspect the drug warriors might have left this shop alone if it were named “Midwest Gardening”.