SALUDA, Va. (AP) - Glen Coberly was culling bad tomatoes from his
vines when he saw the dark green helicopter circling.

Minutes later police cars converged on his Middlesex County home, and
officers ordered Coberly and a friend to lie on the ground.

"They had their guns out," Coberly said of Wednesday's raid. After a
minute or two he was told to get up, and someone started to read him
his rights, he said. Meanwhile, one of the raiders examined the
plants and determined they were tomatoes, not marijuana.

Sheriff Guy Abbott tapped him on the shoulder as he was leaving and
said he was sorry for the mistake.

"We're just trying to do our best to protect our citizens," the
sheriff said Thursday. "And we're not perfect; we make mistakes."

An officer in the helicopter told the Daily Press of Newport News
that the operation involved the Middle Peninsula Drug Task Force,
state police and the National Guard. They were flying over Middlesex
looking for marijuana plants, said the officer, who asked not to be
identified because he works undercover.

He said he and the helicopter pilot, who has flown numerous marijuana
missions, believed the plants were marijuana because they were the
right color.

As for marijuana, Coberly, 39, said, "I don't touch the stuff. But I
do like tomatoes." He'll have more for himself this summer. His
friend, who was visiting in hopes of picking up a few tomatoes, told
him he would never come to see him again.

Newshawk: Sledhead -
Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jul 2001
Source: Daily Press (VA)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Press