45 officers armed with shotguns and assault rifles participated in a failed marijuana raid in Whiteaker, Oregon. In mid-October 2002, residents of a quiet suburb watched while armed officers, backed by an armored truck, blocked traffic lanes, guarded alleyways, and entered a trio of houses. Police refused to explain their actions to worried locals.
Officers tossed concussion grenades into the three houses, all owned by the same couple, then fanned out into the homes, wrestling startled people to the ground. Inside one home, police pulled four people from their beds, including one naked woman and one clad only in panties and a shirt, keeping them all handcuffed for several hours without the chance to put on clothes. Another woman had her head covered with a black fabric bag until she agreed to cooperate.
Police found no weapons or marijuana plants. Officers did seize several high-powered fans, fluorescent lights, plastic sheeting, timers, potting soil, fertilizer, plant food, sandwich bags, a scale, 24 electrical outlets and a shop vacuum. One of the tenants in the raided homes was charged with a misdemeanor for “marijuana residue” found in a pipe.
The owners of the homes claim they do not use or grow cannabis, and that the seized items were used for their jewelry shop and landscaping business. No further charges were laid, and all seized items were returned.
The raid sparked immediate outrage among neighbors and friends of the property owners. “It was completely inappropriate to have that kind of militaristic action there,” said the President of the local community council. “We don’t want it to happen in Whiteaker again, or in any other neighborhood.”