Drug War

Surveillance of Garden Shop, False Drug Test, Lead to Pointless Raid

The family was growing ... tomatoes


The owner of the hydroponics store in the River Market isn't happy his customers are being watched.

"Why should they be?" asked Bennie Palmentere. "This isn't a communist country."

Seven months later in March 2012, that MHP member called the tip into the Johnson County Sheriff's office.  Incident reports and a search warrant affidavit state deputies then spent three early April mornings digging through the Hartes' trash.

The first week they found nothing. But during the second and third weeks, reports say they found wet leaves and stems which "field-tested positive" for marijuana. This led to obtaining the search warrant, which was served April 20, 2012.

Deputies found nothing illegal when they served the search warrant. When the plants in the Hartes' basement tested negative, officials had the plant evidence found in the trash retested, but this time in the Johnson County Sheriff's Office Criminalistics Laboratory.

Lab tests of the plants from the trash came back negative this time.