The Blueberry Chronicles Part II: The End of an Era

A little background on the day leading up to the knock at the door that occurred in the winter of 04/05. 

It had been a really good Sunday. There were blueberries hanging in the closet, while some were still maturing in the grow room getting close to harvest. I felt like I finally had a system going. 

I remember actually thinking that I had been happier than normal that day...

Anyhow, it was about 1:00 AM and I had been hanging out with the roomie all day and was getting ready for bed when I heard a knock at the front door. Now this wasn’t any ordinary knock. This was aggressive. And remember it was 1:00 AM on a Sunday. Kind of an odd time for someone to be at the door.

As my heart rate slowly started to increase, I asked my roommate, “should I open the door?” and give them a piece of my mind, I thought. He shook his head and said, “no.” Normally I would open the door and lay into someone coming over that late, but I had been really happy that day and this didn’t get me as riled up as maybe it normally would have.

The knocking steadily increases, and now we’re both getting concerned. Is it someone trying to break in and rob us? Do they have the wrong house? Now mind you this isn’t in the best neighborhood, so you never know. We would joke that we lived 4 blocks from the ghetto after hearing gunshots on multiple occasions while out in the yard.

What to Do Now?

Meanwhile both of us have made our way to the floor and are laying down hiding in case they try and look in the windows. Eventually the knocking moves to the windows. Now someone is pounding at the door and on the window. We can hear other people as well, so we know there are at least three people out there. They begin to say things outside like “open up” and then start taunting us with things like “we know you’re in there” in a vocal inflection that I’ll NEVER forget.

Eventually the knocking starts to subside. Are we in the clear?

We lived in a duplex at the time and now I could hear them going up the back steps to try and talk with the neighbors. 

Trapped Inside 

After about five minutes pass, I hear a man at my backdoor - inside the house – knocking, and he’s now calling me by name telling me to open up. The neighbor had let these guys inside the house (we shared a laundry room) and now they were one thin door away! Needless to say I was scared shitless. They eventually say “John, this is the Minneapolis police, open up now!” I thought, is it? Or is it someone saying they are cops to try and get me to open up. Either way, I’m not opening that door. I know my rights. You’re going to have to kick that thing down. Now that I realize this might actually be the police I start thinking about other “stuff” I have in the house. I decided to low crawl across the hardwood floors to my bedroom to grab that and flush it all down the toilet. Right as I am about to do that, I hear clanging on the pipes below. They are trying to turn off the plumbing downstairs! This was getting crazy. I guess they are cops. Time to hunker down in the living room on the floor. 

At this point I thought to myself that I was probably going to jail. What would that be like? 

Eventually the knocking stops, and out of the corner of my eye I can see blue and red lights flashing. Oh great, now they’re staking out the house with their police car lights on. We’re screwed. And then things get even crazier; we hear a helicopter hovering over the house! I’m like, all this for growing a few plants? What kind of world do we live in. Eventually the helicopter flies away, but I can still see those blue and red lights out of the corner of my eye. This is going to be a LONG night. After what seemed like hours, I eventually stuck my head up to try and look through the blinds to see if the cops were still out there. To my surprise they weren’t, and that blue and red light was actually coming from the TV reflecting on the window! I think we had turned the volume down during the start of the melee.

Time to Get to Work

Okay, time to gather our senses and get to work. Now if they are going to get a search warrant from a judge to come back and break the door down (because I know they smelt weed since they were inside the house) we have until early morning to clear the house. I’d been in this game long enough to know how the system works.

I would love to see a video of myself chopping down the live plants and loading them into bins. At this point we were working on pure adrenaline. It had to be after 3:00 AM now. Chop and load. Chop and load. Then go to the bedroom and grab all the hanging plants and load those into bags and bins. It probably took us less than an hour to get everything packed up. It’s weird because I actually don’t remember that part of the night. It’s like I was in blackout mode. I talked to my old roommate recently and he said he doesn’t remember that part either.

Now I devise a plan to go outside and walk to the car carrying an empty bin to see if there are any cops staking the place out. I walk out to the car, load the bin, and scan the area. It doesn’t look like there are any cop cars, but there is a line of cars parked on our street and I see what looks like a shadowy figure sitting in one. There’s no way for me to know for certain if that is a person (or a cop), so I figure we have to chance it and get everything out of the house.

It’s Go Time!

I go back into the house, and the roomy and I start making trips to the car. We packed that thing to the gills with bins and hit the road. I figured we’d drive outside the city to a wooded place I was familiar with and dump all the bins there temporarily. Mind you this is the middle of winter, so I’m not too sure we’ll be able to salvage much of this, but it’s worth a shot. We arrive at the location, park the car, and start humping these bins deep in the woods. I remember the snow being knee deep, and by the time we returned to the car I was utterly exhausted. 

The sun was starting to rise now. Time to go grab some food and figure out our next move. I decided to call a buddy of mine and ask if I could take the bins to his place for the time being. He says I can, so I drive back to where we had hidden them and hike into the woods through the deep snow to get the bins. I then head to his place and drop them off. At this point I was too scared to go back to my house, so I called another friend to ask if I could come over and crash for the night.

It's crazy what these types of situations do to your mind. You start questioning everything and everyone around you wondering how they found out about you. 

The Aftermath 

I was scared shitless to return home, but I had no other choice. Shortly after I returned home, I ran into my neighbor and she said something like, “there were cops here looking for you; they looked like frat boys.” I just acted perplexed and played dumb about the whole thing. 

I was in limbo on the whole situation until I eventually got a call to meet up with a friend, and he explained to me that my landlord had been raided (a different house) and they must not have found what they were looking for, so they went knocking on his rental properties. And it just turns out that I was growing. They told him after they were at my house that “they could smell it, but it’s probably all out of there by now so we’re probably not going back.”

My roommate got out of dodge and moved back in with his family. I ended up sticking it out by myself until the lease was up despite every little noise at night startling the hell out of me.

Despite the harsh conditions the Berries endured and we were able to salvage some. By the time I got them back in my hands they were really dry and crispy, but I was happy that not all my recent work was in vain. 

Some time after I moved out of that house, I ended up hearing that this Task Force got shut down over illegal behavior. Something about them doing the drugs they were confiscating.

Moral to the story: don’t answer the door! Like I said at the beginning, I was happier than normal leading up to this incident or I most likely would’ve opened the door and confronted the people. Whether this was some sort of foresight, luck, or God, I’m just glad I didn’t end up in the clink over a plant!

Some names and details have been withheld to protect identities.