The day the DEA came to my Dad's place...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO 2004008944
https://activerain.com/droplet/4Pn7

A post on Facebook reminded me of the time when DEA agents doing a fly-over spotted my Dad's flourishing garden in a clearing several hundred yards down from his house.  They landed and plotted the coordinates to Dad's garden, stopping in town to ask directions to the "Demps England place." Of course, they were wearing the signature blue jackets with DEA emblazoned across the back (DEA, by the way, as in Drug Enforcement Agency).vegetables

Word gets around quickly in a small Arkansas town in hill country. Of course, Dad heard within minutes that DEA agents were on their way to his house; and he set out for his home, which was located on a gravel lane off of a gravel county road. He arrived in time to see them setting fire to a huge pile of uprooted tomato and okra plants, the plants he had carefully planted, fertilized, staked, and tended in the spot he had cleared by hand. Surrounded by trees, the garden received full sun only part of the day; and located in a low spot, it received maximum moisture during the dog days of summer.

It still bothers me that Dad neither sought or received any compensation for the incident. No apology was ever issued, and no tomatoes or okra were harvested from Dad's fabulous garden that year.

At least they didn't arrest Dad when he loudly, and maybe profanely, protested that they had pulled up waist-high tomato plants in full bloom and head high okra plants starting to set! Dad's coffee shop buddies did not soon forget that his garden was once raided by DEA agents! "Hey, Demps, someone's looking for you," became a familiar taunt followed by gales of laughter. The ever-present jokes helped salvage his reputation, which could have been damaged by having the DEA ask questions around town.

The rest of the story is that Dad had been the town police judge decades earlier in the small Missouri town in which I grew up, had been the "town cop" in a neighboring Arkansas town, and was currently an auxiliary county police officer. "The judge" was probably among the least likely of people who would have grown marijuana! His secret formula of sawdust and chicken manure mixed in with well-plowed soil would probably work on that crop, though, much like it did on tomato plants, okra plants, and white and red radishes (that ended up looking more like white carrots and red beets than like radishes). I guess his lush, overgrown, well-staked plants were simply not recognizable to the over-zealous DEA agents that day.

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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sadly, the entire DEA is an agency of absolutely no useful purpose.

With your dad, they would no doubt make an extensive report of the crop they destroyed making themselves look very good no doubt. 

They must have been trained to locate and destroy illegal stills.

 

Nov 25, 2012 06:31 AM #1
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Liz- OMG- it's almost funny but at the same time a little scary.  Well at least it gave everyone a good story to tell. 

Nov 25, 2012 06:33 AM #2
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Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Lenn~Dad was astounded! While I suppose that the plants could have looked suspicious from the air, I cannot imagine that someone in the group did not have enough sense to recognize garden plants. Well, maybe not the okra...

Nov 25, 2012 06:37 AM #3
Rainmaker
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Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Kathy~Yes, it was funny in a perverse sort of way for years. Scary, too, as you say--as well as frustrating, since all of Dad's work was so stupidly destroyed.

Nov 25, 2012 06:38 AM #4
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Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Sheeeeesh! You'd think someone trained to spot illegal vegetation would recognize the difference! Maybe they were high...

Nov 25, 2012 06:42 AM #5
Rainmaker
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Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Janelle~High, maybe, but probably not from the smell of burning tomato and okra plants.... Then again, who knows... ;-)

Nov 25, 2012 06:45 AM #6
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Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Liz...

Wow, what a story. Were the crops on private land or public land? It seems to me that they would need a warrant for private land.

Nov 25, 2012 07:25 AM #7
Rainmaker
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Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Richard~Private land, though there was no fence of any sort. In fact, my husband and I actually owned (and still own) the parcel where Dad's garden was. My parents' house was on a bit of a hill, and we bought the adjoining two acres. I have no idea whether or not they had a warrant. I'm not sure they need a warrant to search vacant land...

Nov 25, 2012 07:49 AM #8
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Liz Lockhart

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