SHOREWOOD, IL — A woman became the subject of an investigation when she was observed shopping for indoor gardening supplies at a hydroponics store. Police and federal agents began staking out the woman’s home, sifting through her garbage, and monitoring her electricity usage. The investigation prompted gun-wielding agents to show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night.
The subject of this investigation was Angela Kirking, a 46-year-old artist who does face-painting for children at local fairs. She enjoys indoor gardening and grows a hibiscus plant for her consumption. She shops for fertilizer and supplies at a local shop called Midwest Hydroganics.
It so happened that police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had been staking out Midwest Hydroganics to attempt to bust citizens who grow unauthorized plants without government permission. Angela Kirking was witnessed exiting the store “carrying a green plastic bag containing unknown items” on September 17, 2013, the Shorewood Patch reported. The bag contained organic fertilizer for her hibiscus flowers.
Based only on the woman’s shopping habits, an investigation was launched that lasted nearly a month.
Police began spying on Kirking’s utility bills. They discovered that her electricity usage was “consistently higher” than her neighbors. Officers were then sent to sneak around the outside of her property at 4:15 a.m. to dig through her trash. According to The Shorewood Patch, the garbage-pickers reportedly found “multiple green plant stems” that smelled strongly of “green cannabis.”
This evidence was enough to make the police and prosecutors believe that her home may contain the forbidden cannabis plant. A few days later, a paramilitary team of plant enforcers was assembled to arrest Mrs. Kirking.
Police tacticians decided that the most effective way to arrest the artist would be to wake her up at 5:00 a.m. with gun-toting strangers in her bedroom. That’s what Mrs. Kirking awoke to on October 11th, 2013.
“They had a gun pointed at me when they said, ‘Are there any illegal substances in your house?'” Kirking recalled.
DEA agents and Shorewood police officers were standing over her bed. Apparently they had waited for her husband to leave for work at 4:50 a.m. and then made him let them in the home.
The Shorewood Patch reported that the agents confiscated her computer, some books, and a few grams of a plant that they claimed was marijuana. These crimes amounted to misdemeanor charges, and Mrs. Kirking was taken away in handcuffs.
Of course, the investigation was based on rubbish. Kirking’s attorney, Jeff Tomczak, is trying to get the search warrant voided because of its shaky pretexts.
Indoor gardeners are frequently the targets of police raids. John Kohler, an indoor gardening advocate who runs GrowingYourGreens.com, had his home invaded by police because he grew vegetables in his bathroom. A Kansas family who grew a garden in their basement suffered a no-knock raid under nearly the same pretexts as Mrs. Kirkling.
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