After a “month-long” investigation that included stake-outs, digging through garbage, and comparing neighbors’ electricity bills, DEA agents and Shorewood (Illinois) Police kicked down the door of a suspected pot grower at 5am on October 11th, 2013.
The suspect was 46-year-old Angela Kirking, who says she awoke to 4 DEA agents and 5 cops screaming at her with guns drawn. Kirking does admit to being a proud grower … of Hibiscus flowers, which she actually eats. It was her search for all-organic solutions for that part of her diet that brought the wrath of the federal government and local law enforcement down on her door on that October morning.
It all began when the feds caught her trying to sell pounds of high-grade homegrown weed to undercover agents….wait, wait, wait..actually, that never happened.
It all began with a visit to her local specialty gardening shop near her hometown of Shorewood, Illinois. It was there, on September 17th of 2013 that Kirking was spotted leaving the Midwest Hydroganics, causing Shorewood PD officers assigned to stake out the gardening center to note that they witnessed Kirking “exit the front door of the store carrying a green plastic bag containing unknown items.”
Guilty, right?! Green bags, unknown items, let’s dig in her trash!
Again, Kirking was not a suspect until she walked out of that store.
The cops say that they were staking out the garden store that day because previous surveillance efforts “led to the arrests of subjects for production of cannabis sativa plants and possession of cannabis.”
In other words, they threw some shit at the wall once and it stuck, so they were back to do it again that day.
Of course, had they known that her ominous “green plastic bag” contained an organic fertilizer which she uses for her prized hibiscus to ensure that her diet stays as pure as possible, perhaps they would have left her alone. But, of course, they didn’t.
Instead, they began to try to back their way into a legitimate case by pulling her electricity bills for the year and comparing them to those of her neighbors. The officers noted that Kirking’s bills were “consistently higher” than those of her neighbors, testifying that in their experience, higher electricity use is common in cannabis cultivation operations.
The judge in the case, Judge Bennett Braun, quipped that the local utility company routinely notifies him that his electricity usage is too high as well.
No word on whether that led to DEA agents digging in his trash, but that is certainly what they did to Mrs. Kirking. Three weeks after the local cops red-flagged her electricity bills, DEA agents performed what they somehow keep a straight face referring to as an “investigative garbage pull”. Get over yourselves, trash-diggers.
There they found plant stems that they thought smelled like reefer. So three days later, as Angela Kirking’s husband left for work at 4:50am, he was confronted by the agents who produced a search warrant and used him to gain entry to the home.
After the untold resources spent in their “investigation”, and the undue stress put upon Kirking and her husband, the agents came away with 9.8 grams of weed, a couple pipes, personal scales, and two books on how to grow marijuana. All of it, along with her computer and external hard drives, was confiscated as evidence for what they had to know was going to be an embarrassing case.
Kirking’s lawyer, Jeff Tomczak, is seeking to have the entire case tossed out by Judge Braun, claiming that the search warrant that put the officers in Kirking’s home never should have been granted, and that his client became a suspect “simply because she shopped at a particular store”.
Judge Braun has promised a decision on the validity of the questionable search warrant, which the entire case hinges upon, later this month.