City of Arlington SWAT Raid on Peaceful Organic Farmers is a Big Budget Bust
August 12, 2013
“No Weed, Just Weeds”
The Garden of Eden is a conscious community located on a 3.5 acre space in Kennedale, Texas (DFW metroplex). They are dedicated to living sustainably by raising fresh food, utilizing earthen materials for building projects, and facilitating inspired events that bring out humans highest potential.
Since 2009, they have been providing food, shelter and sustainability education classes and workshops to the public for free. Their 3.5 acre land contains chickens, bees, composting stations, a large vegetable garden and many wildcrafted trees and plants that are used for foods, medicines, and household and beauty products. Their vision is to be a fully self-sustaining center for education on sustainable living.
At around seven thirty last Friday morning, inhabitants of The Garden of Eden, a small Intentional Community based on Sustainability, were awakened by a SWAT raid conducted by the City of Arlington for suspicion of being a full fledged marijuana growth and trafficking operation. Ultimately only a single arrest was made based on unrelated outstanding traffic violations, a handful of citations were given for city code violations, and zero drug related violations were found. The entire operation lasted about 10 hours and involved many dozens of city officials, SWAT team, police officers and code compliance employees, and numerous official vehicles including dozens of police cars and several specialized vehicular equipment that was involved in the “abatement” operation. Witnesses say that there were helicopters and unmanned flying drones circling the property in the days prior to the raid that are presumed to have been a part of the intelligence gathering. The combined expenses for the raid itself and the collection of information leading up to the fruitless raid are estimated in the tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
All 8 adults present in the house were initially handcuffed at the gunpoint of heavily armed SWAT officers, including the mother of a 22 month old and a two week old baby who was separated from her children during the raid. The police enforced activity on the day of the raid included mowing the grass, the forcible destruction of both wild and cultivated plants like blackberries, lamb’s quarters and okra, and the removal of other varied materials from around the premises such as pallets, tires and cardboard that the Community members say they had collected for use in sustainability projects. No marijuana or other drugs were found on site and the inhabitants of the premises were all unarmed.