Kansas City | Marijuana Bust Spurs Lawsuit

A Leawood couple says heavily armed Johnson County law deputies barged into their home last year, turning it upside down and detaining them and their children for more than two hours in a fruitless search for marijuana.

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“This is how we were awakened: banging, pounding, screaming,” the mother, Adlynn Harte, said Friday. “My husband opened the door right before the battering ram was set to take it out.”

The father allegedly was forced to lie shirtless on the foyer while a deputy with an assault rifle stood over him. The children, a 7-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, reportedly came out of their bedrooms terrified, the teenager with his hands in the air.

And all because the couple, Robert and Adlynn Harte, bought indoor gardening equipment to grow a small number of tomato and squash plants in their basement, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The equipment was never used for marijuana, the couple says, and no one in the family has ever used illegal drugs.

Nearly a year after the SWAT-style raid, the Hartes still don’t know what evidence deputies used to persuade a judge to grant a warrant to search their home in the 10300 block of Wenonga Lane on April 20. Their requests for records that could provide such information have been denied by the sheriff’s office.

The lawsuit filed Thursday asks the court to order the release of the records. The information revealed could be used in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

“You can’t send out the SWAT team because people are trying to grow tomatoes in their basement,” Robert Harte told The Star..

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