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March 2004
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Don’t forget to turn out the lights.

Via Three Sheets to the Wind comes one of those amusing human interest stories that’s also a whole lot more:

CARLSBAD, Calif. – When police noticed Dina Dagy’s family was spending $250 to $300 a month on electricity, they suspected a marijuana farm was flourishing under high-intensity lights inside their suburban home.

What they found when they showed up with a drug-sniffing dog and a search warrant was a wife and mother who does several loads of laundry a day, keeps a dishwashing machine going, has three electricity-guzzling computers and three kids who can’t remember to turn the lights out when they leave a room.

“It’s hard to believe a high utility bill would be enough to issue a state warrant,” said Dagy, who is demanding the Police Department issue a written apology.

Now the police also did apparently send “a police dog to the neighborhood, and it reacted as though it had smelled drugs” – a pretty vague indication (I guess you better be careful if your neighborhood smells of drugs). And then the kicker — the final point that justified the warrant:

They also noticed the family had put its trash out that morning, something police say drug growers often do to hide the evidence. In the Dagys’ case, however, it was trash day.

Ah, yes. They put out their trash. They must be criminals.
Over and over again, you see evidence of how the drug war has perverted the system and infringed on individual rights. If it wasn’t for prohibition, none of this would be an issue.
Back to the story… Notice the use of the bland word “noticed.” They “noticed” the trash had been put out (Probably after hours of watching the house.)
And the one I love — they “noticed” Dagy’s family was spending $250-300 a month on electricity. How do you “notice” something like that if you’re the police? It means, of course, that the police were examining citizens’ utility bills.
This gets pretty creepy. I suddenly have images of law enforcement analyzing my everday activities to see if I “put my trash out”. “Look, he parked his car in the garage – just like what a drug dealer would do.” “His living room light is on at 2 am – he must be smoking pot.” “OK, get the search warrant. We just checked his cable bill and he ordered Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and 2001: A Space Odyssey
Or am I just being paranoid?

A picture named White-House-Night.jpg
Another house with a high electric bill
that should be investigated.

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