In his interview with the Virginian-Pilot, Ryan Frederick said he was into gardening and landscaping, and that one reason he had the grow lamps is that he was learning how to grow young Japanese Maple trees.
In our comments section, "Kap" points out that the leaves of Japanese Maples look a lot like marijuana leaves. To an untrained eye, one wonders if a very young Japanese Maple (the kind that would require a grow lamp) might resemble a marijuana plant.
Could the informant have spotted the young trees in Frederick's garage, then mistakenly reported them to the police as marijuana plants, triggering the raid?
UPDATE: I just tipped of a Virginian-Pilot reporter on the Japanese Maple leaves and the possibility that the informant was responsible for the earlier break-in at Frederick's home, given the timing of the break-in and the information contained in the search warrant that the informant had been in the home 72 hours prior to the raid.
He told a couple of interesting things that didn't appear in the paper's interview with Frederick. First, Frederick told the reporter that as the police were taking him out of the house in handcuffs, he told them he was sorry, and that he was scared because his house had been burglarized earlier in the week. According to the reporter, Frederick says the police told him they not only knew about the burglary, they knew who had done it. Neither the reporter nor Frederick made the connection that the person who broke in could well also be the informant.
I'm starting to think now that that's the case. Frederick also told the reporter he rarely has visitors, and couldn't think of anyone who had been in his home that week.
As for the plants, the reporter confirmed that Frederick did actually own young Japanese Maple trees, in addition to tomatoes (which have also in the past been mistaken for marijuana, leading to drug raids) and several other plants. The guy was a gardening hobbyist.
Frederick also believes the cops found about three joints in his home.
I would be very suspicious if the police olice were to suddenly announce, a week later, that they did indeed find marijuana plants in Frederick's garage, too.
Here are a few questions I have for Chesapeake PD:
• Who was the informant? Under what circumstances did he hand over this information? Has he assisted the police in other cases?
• Did police tell Frederick at the scene that they know who broke into his home three days before the raid? Do they know? If so, was it the same person who tipped them off?
• If so, did he break in to Frederick's home with instruction from the police, or on his own accord?
• How much marijuana was found in the home? Could we get a definitive yes or no on whether marijuana plants were found, as indicated would be found in the search warrant?
• What sort of police work was done to coroborrate the informant's tip before conducting the raid?
• If there were no marijuana plants found in the home, did police find Japanese Maple plants? Tomato plants? Other evidence that Frederick was a gardening enthusiast, as he says?