MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon medical-marijuana advocates Derek Antol and Samantha Conklin have filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit, alleging drug-enforcement officers conducted unlawful searches and seizures July 9 of their homes and businesses and a “false arrest” of Antol’s 12-year-old son before one of the searches.
Antol, 36, and Conklin, 24, were arrested Thursday, July 24, and charged with felonies for allegedly violating Michigan’s medical marijuana law. Both remained in the Muskegon County Jail Monday, July 28, with cash or surety bond set at $100,000 for Antol and $50,000 for Conklin. Prosecutors said seven other people associated with Antol and Conklin also were being charged with felonies.
Antol’s and Conklin’s criminal attorney, Kevin Wistrom, on Friday said Antol and Conklin broke no laws. The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office alleges that they and the other defendants did. According to the arrest warrants, the investigation by the West Michigan Enforcement Team, a multi-agency task force led by the Michigan State Police, dated back to 2010.
Antol runs Deuces Wild Smoke Shop at 885 E. Apple Ave. in Muskegon and is a medical-marijuana cardholder. Conklin is a licensed caregiver authorized to dispense medical marijuana to patients.
Their civil-rights lawsuit filed Monday, July 28, alleges that eight drug-enforcement officers violated Antol’s and Conklin’s Fourth Amendment constitutional rights against unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures, as well as Antol’s son’s right not to be falsely arrested.
The lawsuit contends that:
- Drug-enforcement officers, accompanied by a Michigan Treasury agent claiming to be with a tobacco tax team, on July 9 entered Deuces Wild Smoke Smoke Shop. The officers allegedly demanded entry to a locked, separate business entity in the same building in which Conklin dispensed medical marijuana to patients, then unlawfully entered those premises without a search warrant after she refused to consent. There they “observed medical marijuana which was lawfully possessed under state law,” according to the lawsuit.
- After Antol showed up at 885 E. Apple, he told officers his Deuces Wild business was separate from the medical-marijuana entity in the same building. He also told them of two homes he was purchasing on land contract, one of them with Conklin.
- Based on the marijuana observed at 885 E. Apple, officers prepared an affidavit for a search warrant at all three locations, failing to disclose in the affidavit that there were two separate business entities at 885 E. Apple. A court magistrate authorized a search warrant for all three addresses based on this affidavit.
- The allegedly unlawful entry into the medical-marijuana business entity was unreasonable, violated Conklin’s right to privacy and caused her “significant emotional distress due to being unable to provide her patients with relief from the pain, suffering, and debilitating medical conditions.” Antol, the lawsuit says, suffered emotional distress and “interruption to his normal business operations.”
- Police at the Apple Avenue address seized surveillance equipment, cash register receipts, $124 cash, a computer and two cell phones from Antol as well as $1,160 cash, a cell phone and a 9-mm pistol from Conklin.
- Police then, based on the allegedly invalid search warrants, searched Antol’s home on North Green Creek Road in Laketon Township allegedly without probable cause, violating the constitutional privacy rights of Antol and two children present, damaging a closet door and seizing $19,209 cash from Antol and $1,409 from his 12-year-old son.
- Police also searched the other residence on Farr Road allegedly without a valid cause, seizing scales, W-2 forms, a revolver, a heating pad and miscellaneous containers belonging to Conklin.
- During the search of the Green Creek Road home, Antol’s 12-year-old son was allegedly ordered from his bedroom at gunpoint and detained while officers waited for the search warrant to arrive, all allegedly without probable cause. That, the lawsuit alleges, was a violation of the boy’s Fourth Amendment rights and of state law and caused him “humiliation, anxiety and loss of liberty.”
The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in damages from each of the eight defendants.
WEMET officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday morning.
John S. Hausman covers courts, prisons, the environment and local government for MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter.
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