Stephanie Smith was balancing one of her 2-year-old twins on a hip during a quiet morning in December when she heard a commotion outside her home in Los Angeles’ affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood.
Someone began banging on her front door. As she moved to open it, she saw a line of police officers in her front yard and red laser gun sights coming through the windows, bouncing off her and her children.
Officers searched her home. They found and took blueprints for a kitchen remodel project and her cell phone.
At the same time, 80 miles due east in San Bernardino, dozens of officers were raiding two warehouses and another home owned by Smith. They seized nearly 25,000 marijuana plants and arrested eight men for growing cannabis in the three locations without city permits.
Smith wasn’t arrested or fined. But headlines the next day painted the 43-year-old as a “queenpin” and the “mastermind” of