Police raid suspected meth house, only find fish tank

2:25 PM, Apr 29, 2008   |    comments
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Brooklyn Park police were looking for a meth lab, but they found a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it. And a few hours later, when the city sent a contractor to fix the door the police had smashed open Monday afternoon, it was obvious the city was trying to fix a mistake. It happened while Kathy Adams was sleeping. "And the next thing I know, a police officer is trying to get me out bed," she said. Adams, a 54-year-old former nurse who said she suffers from a bad back caused by a patient who attacked her a few years ago, was handcuffed. So was her 49-year-old husband. "They brought us here and said once we clear that area, you can sit down and you will not speak to each other," she said. Police were executing a search warrant signed by Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson, who believed there was probable cause the Adams's home was a meth lab. Berhardson, who was appointed to the bench less than a year ago, did not return KARE 11's phone calls. "Ohmigod," Adams said as she recalled police breaking down her door and flashing the search warrant. "I just kept saying to them, 'you've got the wrong house.' " Police soon realized that themselves. "From a cursory view, it doesn't look like our officers did anything wrong," said Capt. Greg Roehl. Roehl said the drug task force was acting on a tip from a subcontractor for CenterPoint Energy, who had been in the home Friday to install a hot water heater. "He got hit with a chemical smell that he said made him light headed, feel kind of nauseous," Roehl said. The smell was vinegar, and maybe pickling lime, which were clearly marked in a bathroom Mr. Adams uses to mix chemicals for his salt water fish tank. "I said, 'I call it his laboratory for his fish tanks,' " Mrs. Adams said, recalling her conversation with the CenterPoint technician. "I'm looking at the fish tank talking to this guy." Police say there was no extended investigation, just an interview with the subcontractor. "Everything this person told us turned out to be true, with the exception of what the purpose of the lab was," Roehl said. Adams is looking for a lawyer. "I could say that about my neighbor - I smelled something when I went in their house," she said. "Does that make it right for them to go in there and break the door down and cuff you? I think not!" Police say the detective who asked for the search warrant is an 8 ½-year veteran, but he just started working in the drug task force. CenterPoint energy maintains the home was "unsafe" and it would have been "irresponsible" for the subcontractor not to report it.

By Scott Goldberg, KARE 11 News

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