(CNN) — The grower was alarmed when the police helicopter swooped low over his property.
Soon, Bartow County, Georgia, deputies — “strapped to the gills” and with a drug dog in tow — converged on his doorstep.
They had the grower dead to rights.
Except the plant that the chopper cops had spotted from the air was … okra.
Dwayne Perry of Cartersville told CNN affiliate WSB that he is none too happy about last week’s “drug raid” conducted by the governor’s drug suppression task force.
“Here I am, at home and retired and you know I do the right thing,” Perry told the station. “Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain’t right.”
He received many calls about all of the police officers at his home, Perry said, and he worries that his reputation in the community may suffer.
The helicopter was combing the area in search of cannabis plants when it came across the five-leaflet okra plant, the station reported. Marijuana plants can have anywhere between one and 13 leaflets per leaf, depending on maturity and health, but they generally have seven or nine.
“It did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant,” Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kermit Stokes told WSB.
Upon realizing that it had dispatched officers to confiscate a popular gumbo ingredient, the Georgia State Patrol, which operates the task force, issued an apology, both to Perry and publicly.
“If we disturbed them in any manner, that’s not our intent. Our intent is to go out and do our job and do it to the best of our ability,” Stokes told WSB.
It seems like a humorous mistake, only because no one was hurt, but there have been numerous instances in which innocent citizens have been injured or worse when police acted on bogus information.
That potentiality didn’t escape Perry.
“The more I thought about it, what could have happened? Anything could have happened,” he told WSB.
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