Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa Fe Police Raid School Greenhouse: Find Tomatoes


The war on drugs strikes again, this time at the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.

On September 21 a low flying unmarked helicopter surveyed the school's property for 15 minutes, so low that the students could see gun barrels on its outside. These students were just innocently eating outside while this was happening, not to mention that the students’ ages ranged from 11 to 14. As the helicopter disappeared a state police van arrived accompanied by a few other vehicles in the driveway of the school.

From the vehicles appeared four unmarked men wearing bulletproof vests wanting to inspect the schools greenhouses and did they find the marijuana that they were looking for? Of course not, all that was growing in the greenhouse were tomato plants.

This was a part of a number raids ran by the Region III Narcotics Task Force in Santa Fe County, of which only one was proven to be fruitful. They found a whopping 35 plants after 10 hours of surveillance, such an efficient use of time and tax payer dollars. These raids are not making local residents very happy either. They are saying that the helicopters are scaring livestock, disturbing the peace in the rural areas and resulting in invasions of private property without search warrants.

It is hard for me to believe that these raids are making the community safer if they are just angering its residents, invading their privacy and as Patricia Pantano, education director of the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm states "we're sitting here as a teaching staff, always short on money, and we're thinking, 'Gosh, all the money it takes to fly that helicopter and hire all those people, it would be great to have this for education. "

Steve Larson is a member of KSU SSDP