Arlington police defend raid on garden commune that yielded no marijuana, just code violations

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Article posted in the Dallas Morning News


Arlington SWAT officers raided a Kennedale sustainability garden this month but found only code violations, not the marijuana they were looking for.

Authorities received two complaints that those living at the Garden of Eden were growing and distributing marijuana in the 7000 block of Mansfield Cardinal Road, according to Arlington Police Sgt. Christopher Cook. ?{{more}}

Cook said police worked jointly with the city as they completed a search of the property Aug. 2, finding and correcting several code violations. Several people were handcuffed briefly, the city says, before being released and allowed to continue tending the sustainability garden.

?No cultivated marijuana plants were located on the premises,? according to a city statement. ?Narcotics detectives and members of the tactical unit cleared the scene within 45 minutes.?

Since then more than 100 Facebook users have shared the garden?s Facebook post that links to theirblog about the raid. The post says that police handcuffed eight adults at gunpoint, mowed the grass, destroyed plants and removed materials they were planning to use in sustainability projects.

In the post, Shellie Smith, who is described as the garden?s landowner, says that their rights were violated.

?We have been targeted by the system because we are showing people how to live without it,? Smith said in the post. ?We are growing more than just tomatoes here, we are growing the consciousness that will allow people to live freely and sustainably, and the system doesn?t want that to be known.?

Cook said it?s not uncommon to use SWAT to execute a drug search warrant and that the people were treated professionally.

?That?s what concerns me about their social media allegations,? Cook said. ?Yes, they were initially handcuffed, however once it was determined it was secure they were taken out of handcuffs. Typically we wouldn?t do that, but they were compliant.?

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