Arlington SWAT Team Raids Commune Looking for Weed, Finds Only Hippies and Tall Grass

Categories: News

GardenofEdenPOst.jpg
Correction: The original version of the post incorrectly stated that Quinn Eaker was arrested for marijuana possession on July 30. He was not. The officer who wrote the search warrant affidavit states that she "has good reason to believe and does believe" that Eaker possessed weed, but Arlington police confirmed that he was neither arrested nor cited for it.

Original post: The folks who live there don't call The Garden of Eden a hippie commune. They prefer "small Intentional Community," or sometimes "New Paradigm EcoVillage." Here's how they describe it on their website:

The Garden of Eden ... exists as a showcase to highlight just how easy, abundant, and sustainable life can be. What an amazing blessing and opportunity it is to be alive and how much there is to enjoy in the experience of being alive on this earth. We are not here in these bodies, on this earth, merely to survive, but to THRIVE!

Life in the GOE is a beautiful balance of modern technology and a sustainable lifestyle. Computers, electronics, cars, and other modern devices are indeed a part of life here, and yet there are also composting toilets, wildcrafted gardens, and other creative implementations that make our day-to-day life more ecologically and energetically sustainable.

In order to truly embrace a LIFE of sustainability, one must cultivate a full spectrum consciousness of sustainability that provides the foundation for one's relationship with all daily aspects of life. We provide many solutions for not only the big things like housing and food, but the little things like toilet paper and dishes. By upgrading many little aspects of an unsustainable life, BIG results occur.

Whatever you choose to call it, it's not something you'd expect to find in southwest Arlington. Yet that's where Shellie Smith bought a home and three acres on Mansfield Cardinal Road in 1996 and where, almost a dozen years later, Garden of Eden's often shirtless pied piper Quinn Eaker ("the womb in which the GOE grew and the portal through which it was birthed") came to stay.

UberDankHighVibeCuisine.jpg
In the years since, the property has been transformed into a working organic farm roughly the size of a football field, an artisan clothing and jewelry boutique, and a restaurant which, as you can see to the right, features a frequently shirtless Eaker.

Clearly, the Garden of Eden is not a concept that meshes well with a suburb that only recently -- and only hesitantly -- embraced the radical idea of mass transit. It was probably inevitable that there would be a run-in with neighbors and city officials, which is exactly what happened on August 2.

Eaker described what happened in a press release sent to media outlets last week: At 7:30 a.m., the community's residents were awakened by a city of Arlington SWAT team looking for weed. All eight adults in the house, including the mother of a 22-month-old toddler, were initially handcuffed, then forced to mow the grass and destroy okra, blackberries, lamb's quarters and other plants. Eaker was arrested for outstanding traffic tickets.

"I think every single right we have was violated," he told WFAA. "Every single one." Smith added in an email on Monday that Eaker "has been targeted by the local government for living true to his spiritual path."

The city of Arlington doesn't dispute that the raid took place nor that the adults were handcuffed, which they called "standard procedure in narcotics investigations." And just because they didn't find any marijuana, they argue, didn't mean they didn't have reasonable cause to suspect it was being grown there.

A search warrant affidavit notes that Eaker was arrested on July 30 for carrying less than two ounces of marijuana on July 30. This prompted an investigation by Detective M. Perez, whose undercover tour of the property during a public event one weekend did nothing to allay her suspicions.

Further raising her hackles was the prominent advertisement on the Garden of Eden website of "Uber Dank High Vibe Cuisine." The site describes it in completely innocent terms:

Uber Dank is quite a play on words, so a little explanation is beneficial. Uber is West coast slang meaning "over the top" or "extraordinary." Uber is also a German word meaning "super," basically the same thing. Dank is West coast slang morphed into the meaning of "high quality," mostly pertaining to consumables. Dank is also a German word meaning "overflowing gratitude."

But Perez wasn't buying it. She writes in her affidavit that she knows "through her training and experience that "Uber Dank" is also slang for high quality marijuana. [She] also knows that individuals who consume marijuana often refer to the sensation felt after consumption as a 'high'. The website mentions the word high multiple times while describing the food. In addition, [Perez] knows that some people consume marijuana by baking it into their food.

So, Arlington police called in the Texas Department of Public Safety, which sent a manned aircraft to patrol the area. The pilot spotted what he took to be marijuana plants in a 30'-by-30' area between the pool and house.

Nor does Perez buy the facade of the Garden of Eden residents as friendly, happy-go-lucky hippies. A tipster told her there were guns on the property -- two rifles and one handgun, at least -- and she worried that the fact that a large chain-link gate marked the only entrance could lead raiding officer into a "fatal funnel," in which the occupants are easily able to mow down the cops as they enter the property.

Such fears turned out to be unfounded, and not just because the SWAT team caught the residents asleep. No guns were found, just lots of weeds and old tires and various other debris that code enforcement officers carried away.

The way things played out, you have to wonder if Arlington's response was just a tad bit excessive. The city doesn't think so, as detailed in the search warrant affidavit and a statement released Monday evening:

On February 27, 2013, Code Compliance Services issued a Nuisance Abatement Order to Shellie Smith, the property owner of record at 7325 Mansfield Cardinal Road. As detailed in the search warrant affidavit, since 2011 Code Compliance Services has received numerous complaints from residents who live in the area and are concerned about their health and safety due to the current unsanitary conditions on the property that promotes the harboring of rodents, mosquitoes and fire hazards. Moreover, the residents are concerned that the conditions interfere with the useful enjoyment of their properties and are detrimental to property values and community appearance. The Nuisance Abatement Order was issued after an investigation was conducted, and the property owner was provided notices of violation and time to remedy the identified code violations. Ms. Smith declined to attend a Nuisance Determination Hearing she requested. City codes exist in order to protect the health and safety of the public. To date, Ms. Smith has failed to comply with the order and the nuisance conditions continue to exist on the property.

Below you'll find the search warrant. It's a fairly entertaining read.

Garden of Eden Search Warrant Affidavit

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127 comments
urbanmari
urbanmari

Wanted to share a letter I wrote to the Mayor via http://www.arlingtontx.gov/mayor/contact.html after reading Jim's piece in the Observer.

Mayor Cluck,

I'm writing to express my hope that City of Arlington will find a better way to interact with the people profiled by journalist Jim Schutze.  Nationwide, there is a disconcerting rrise in municipalities' use of military weaponry, machinery, and tactics.  The use of such things has basically trampled on people's liberties that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution.  All of us share in these protections, or, are supposed to.

I'm shaking my head while writing this, thinking how shameful and misguided it was sending that SWAT team to their property--and for what? Someone's accusation of wrongdoing? To mow their grass?  What if someone had gotten hurt?  It just seems that going in with all that adrenaline and gunpowder is to iinvite some tragic siege situation, and that's just what Texas needs, right? Another Waco.

And the other aspect to this is the City's failure to recognize how that family is making high-level contributions to the project to Save Arlington Water.  They are your people out in front, putting a lot of action into helping solve the problem of the city/state drought.  Don't penalize them or else it will show the Save Arlington Water project to be just a puff of hot, dry air.

Please direct the various departments of your city to look thoughtfully at how it deals with people who are going to live more freely, and to match City words with City actions.

GatoCat
GatoCat

What's the connection between marijuana and a "narcotics investigation"?

danapreston68
danapreston68

This is more than a bit excessive! It's UNCONSTITUTIONAL for the Police to ACT the way they did. PEOPLE WAKE UP! Gov. Perry needs to get involved in this.

MikeParent
MikeParent

" And just because they didn't find any marijuana, they argue, didn't mean they didn't have reasonable cause to suspect it was being grown there."   What was the reasonable cause, they were growing something?    How about focusing on crimes that have actual victims and stop you Keystone Kops baloney!

ladypegasus
ladypegasus

This is the same city that forced me to move my home to Fort Worth because my neighbors and I were "trailer trash" and they decided their roadway was more important than our community since we lived in mobile homes. They also did the same to a chunk of the monastery next door, despite having invited the monastery to move there years before.  Arlington is all about tax revenues and appearances. If you appear even a little different, they want you out.  

GhostInTheMachine
GhostInTheMachine

If this article makes you mad, stand up for your damn democracy! One only has to look at Egypt's current state of affairs to see where good ol 'Murica is heading (and it won't be 100 years, more like 10).
Write the damn police officer, call her boss, phone up the damn judge who signed the search warrant, lay your grievance at the feet of the damn mayor of Arlington. 

Bitch, complain, be noisy. MAKE YOURSELVES HEARD. 
Don't whine on an internet board and expect anything to happen, or anything to change.


1. Chief of Police Will Johnson
(817) 459-5717

*************************************************** 

2. City of Arlington Texax Municipal Court

101 S. Mesquite St

Arlington, Texas 76010

Phone: 817-459-6777

(Representatives available 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday)

Fax: 817-459-6956 (lol fax machine)

***************************************************

3. Contact the Mayor of Arlington: 

http://www.arlingtontx.gov/mayor/contact.html

GO! Let your voices be heard!



director21
director21

Arlington has always been over the top in its prosecution of drug laws. In the late 1960's, an undercover narcotics agent there SOLD drugs to my brother-in-law, and then busted him for possession. My brother-in-law was a young man, barely 18, and became so depressed over his arrest that he hung himself and died while in the custody of the Arlington PD.

I see that not much has changed in the last 45 years in Arlington other than the faces of the Gestapo who now man the APD.

ewephoriayarns
ewephoriayarns

Typical.  A bunch of uptight suburbanites assume that anyone not as stressed out and shallow as they are is a bunch of gun-toting, drug-dealing thugs.  I hope these people sue the socks off the City of Arlington.  So much for Constitution-loving, free Red State Texas.  What  hypocrisy.

diehipsterscum
diehipsterscum

this makes me sick what a fascist country we live in....literally sick

Bob Scott
Bob Scott

I'm lookin for weed too, man! Hey Arlington SWAT, let me know if ya get some man!

socraticnietzsche
socraticnietzsche

I can't even begin to describe how angry I am over this!

First off: I've been to the GoE on several occasions, there's nothing but kind wonderful people out there...  Only an idiot would confuse them for violent drug traffickers!

Second: Code Compliance is nothing but a huge constitutional violation of a human's inalienable rights!  And enforcement of these laws is nothing but treason to the Constitution of America!  Everyone involved in this 'incident' has committed treason against the US Constitution!

Third:  The 'bullies in blue' HAVE to start being held accountable by the people they are allegedly serving and protecting!  They don't serve and protect anything but the upper echelon's self-interests!

Lastly:  I've eaten the Uber Dank cuisine...  and oh yeah... I got sooo effing high off the spring rolls, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, and other various fruits and vegetables that I was offered!  Oh yes, super high, indeed!  </end sarcastic last point>

t.knapp1
t.knapp1

The thug cops should be held responsible for their thug tactics..

J_A_
J_A_

Bet this place reeks of incense & patchouli. Bleh

RoBerts ErIc
RoBerts ErIc

hippie is a 70's word lol get with it do

RoBerts ErIc
RoBerts ErIc

how many people drink at cowboys games and then drive through arlington does anyone smoke pot at the cowboys stadium

RoBerts ErIc
RoBerts ErIc

über- prefix \ˈü-bər, ˈue-bər\ Definition of ÜBER- 1 : being a superlative example of its kind or class : super- 2 : to an extreme or excessive degree : super- See über- defined for English-language learners » Variants of ÜBER- über- also uber- Origin of ÜBER- German, from über over, beyond, from Old High German ubar — more at over

obbopp
obbopp

I did two overseas military tours to SE Asia in the 1970s to defend the so-called "hippies," NOT the jack-booted thug lackeys of the ruling elites.

ryan762
ryan762

From my police training and extensive knowledge and research, I know that "high" is something that drug users to describe their sensations after smoking marijuana. I also know that "five" is something drug dealers often give each other. So the term "high five" is, based on my knowledge and experience, definitely a term relating to illegal drug use.

Therefore, I have a reasonable suspicion that everyone who drives on the High Five interchange in Dallas is carrying drugs.

I wonder when my city is going to send in the SWAT team to make the home builder mow their empty lots near my house (which are over the legal limit at present).

roo_ster
roo_ster

Now, hippie-harassing is a time-honored pastime that can not be shirked by right-thinking men.  But, it must be both an individual activity and not be done on the taxpayers' dime.  APD just doesn't understand that and needs to take remedial hippie-harassing training.  Bad APD, no cookie for you!

Also, APD needs to do an eyesight test on their aerial recon bubbas.  You would have to be in an hallucinatory state to mix the up okra and mj.

harmonicpies
harmonicpies

I didn't know real farmers slept past 7:30 in the morning during the growing season.

Melissa Howell
Melissa Howell

I can't speak to that at all, but code violations or not, it doesn't warrant a raid by a SWAT team.

Nathan Meyer
Nathan Meyer

I've read that the code violations were a long-standing issue, since Feb of this year. It almost looks as if Arlington used a bogus marijuana raid (based on circumstantial assumptions) as an excuse to use SWAT for code enforcement purposes.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

So, this is the Home Team in the War on Drugs?  No wonder we're losing.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Why do so many cops want to play urban commando?

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

APD has the best Hippie Eradication program known to man!

shellie_smith
shellie_smith

@urbanmari

Such beauty to see how you have jumped right in and taken action.  All of our voices and involvement are needed to make change and standing up for what we believe in and being the change we wish to see in the world is where the answer lies.  Thank you for taking the initiative to address this situation.  We, at the Garden of Eden, are so very grateful for you.  We would love to know you--if you feel so inclined, please get in touch with us on facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Garden-of-Eden/243170885706672?ref=hl

danapreston68
danapreston68

director21: this is going on across AMERICA since Obama has won in 2008. You hear about this all the time on the news. Last night, Aug.18, 2013, On FNC - Foxnews, Strossel had a one hour program on "Police State' and it's exactly about what happen to these people. Police going OVERBOARD and being EXCESSIVE and the truth is alot of times they are going to the WRONG House. Ha! It's UNCONSTITUTIONAL. People WAKE UP! Complain to YOUR GOVERNOR - Rick Perry.

GhostInTheMachine
GhostInTheMachine

@ScottsMerkin Nonsense. The charges laid were so the police could cover their asses and for no other reason. No drugs or guns on the property? Oh, well lets just see what we can hit 'em with, so that we can justify our expensive use of force and waste of tax-payer dollars. (somebody's going to have to pay for that plane ride).
This is a common practice and, while not a violation of rights per se, is about as FAR from the spirit of democracy as you can be. 

mimosatribe
mimosatribe

@ScottsMerkin May I suggest that you take a look at Texas Penal Code Title 11 Chapter 71 and tell me if that isn't a description of most Law EnFORCEment Agencies and their blissfully ignorant co-conspirators who collect re-venue for the bank through constructive fraud, human trafficking, and racketeering.  

shellie_smith
shellie_smith

@RoBerts ErIc I have never been called a hippie until this incident happened.  The media seems to be all over labeling us.  What is a "hippie", anyway?

ewephoriayarns
ewephoriayarns

@ryan762 Yep.  Makes you wonder when they're going to SWAT raid all the restaurants that advertise "high quality" ingredients.

IamtheoneQuinn
IamtheoneQuinn

@ryan762 Yes exactly......Conjecture is inadmissible in court and also is a violation of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury~
Pathetic~*~

IamtheoneQuinn
IamtheoneQuinn

@roo_ster Number one not a single Being at The GOE ever refers to themselves as a Hippie. This is purely a judgement of ill informed observers. Secondly this cost over $50,000 of Taxpayers money for 0 results. Ooops!

diehipsterscum
diehipsterscum

@RTGolden1 hey man after 30 years we are due on the war on drugs for some big wins.  I think war on drug people are cub fans.

shellie_smith
shellie_smith

@danapreston68 We would love nothing more than for Arlington to step up and make this right...and in light of what they aren't doing, for Gov. Perry to step in and for Texas to make this right.  They have squandered thousands and thousands of tax payers dollars and they not only owe it to those of us at the Garden of Eden, but to all the People who have spent their life energy earning money to pay the City of Arlington to treat the people of their community in this way.  Something has to change--we, the People, are not only the problem, we are the solution.  WE have to do something.  It is up to US.  Stand with us.  We are powerful in numbers.

director21
director21

@danapreston68 This was going on when Obama was a very young child, and nothing has changed since he came into office. Calling Rick Perry would the last desperate act of an idiot. Perry, if anything, would award some kind of a medal or other commendation to police who were acting this way.

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