WRAL Investigates

Robeson woman stung by DEA destruction of backyard hive

Posted November 20, 2015

— A Robeson County woman is demanding the federal government pay her for a beehive the Drug Enforcement Administration destroyed during a recent raid on her neighbor's property.

"This is my sanctuary," Denise Campbell said of her 7-acre spread in St. Pauls.

On Oct. 27, Campbell said that sanctuary was violated as DEA agents swarmed her neighbor's property.

"I noticed there were men back here at the fence," she said.

A wooded area separates her property from her neighbor's, but she said agents crossed the property line to investigate a beehive she had out back as a possible hiding place for drugs or money.

"They readily admitted to me their agents lifted the lid," she said. "Common sense tells me, if you lift the lid to a honeybee, you're going to get stung."

Beekeeper David Garrett tended to the hive, which he described as a thriving honey producer with 60,000 to 80,000 bees valued at more than $1,000. After the raid, he said, the hive was wrecked.

"The hive was literally over on its side," Garrett said. "The bees, they were dead. The honey was destroyed."

Campbell said she respects the job of the DEA but the agents went too far. She said she would have gladly helped agents examine the beehive if they had asked her.

"You came onto my property, and you didn't have permission to come onto my property, and you vandalized it – you destroyed it," she said.

A DEA agent initially suggested she hire an attorney if she wanted restitution, she said.

"I felt like I was being bullied," she said. "I didn't do anything wrong except go to work that day."

William Baxley, assistant DEA special agent-in-charge in North Carolina, declined comment on the raid but said that Campbell wasn't dismissed by his agents.

"If someone can show our agents made an error, we will, of course, make it right, but, there is a process. We need proof," Baxley said, adding the government needs more photos and details about the value of the hive to consider a claim.

Campbell said she plans to rebuild the hive as she presses for restitution.

"This is private land, and you destroyed it, and now you've got to be held accountable," she said.


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  • Mike Smith Nov 22, 2015
    user avatar

    I can tell you one thing I bet they never mess with another beehive . When they come out after you kick it over they are very angry and don't mind stinging repeatedly !!! You can slap and shoo all you want but only way you can get away from them is go inside a building. If there were drugs or money in it I wouldn't mess with it and I bet they learned a lesson real quick like that wasn't covered in the academy.

  • Mike Hill Nov 22, 2015
    user avatar

    Tyranny of the Federal Government in acton again, if the President does not follow the law or his future, party's voters, (illegall immigrants), why should we expect more of he bureacrats, (DEA).

  • Barry Smith Nov 22, 2015
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    Sounds like her elected Robeson Co. Sheriff needs to take a report and arrest the trespasser to me, that'd simplify things a good bit. Uphold the law.

  • Donna Gale Nov 22, 2015
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    They had a warrant to search the neighbors property...not hers. Pay up.

  • Rodney Hill Nov 22, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I guess you missed the part where the complainant said the DEA "readily admitted to me their agents lifted the lid".

    She should of called the police and had them arrested for vandalism...

  • Charles Boyer Nov 21, 2015
    user avatar

    The government should do the right thing without Denise Campbell having to resort to lawyers and lawsuits.

  • King Mopar Nov 21, 2015
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    Unless she saw the DEA agent kick it over she doesn't have much of a case, and even then, it will cost her more for a lawyer that any damages she will receive. The lawyer would have to dig thru records on who got stung, on what day...yadda yadda yadda. She stands a better chance of getting details of Area 51. I feel she is right and somebody should stand up and be accountable, aka the agent.

  • Libby Lynn Nov 21, 2015
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    This state cannot afford to NOT legalize marijuana. Seriously. I hope the Supreme Court does it first.

  • El Conquistador Nov 21, 2015
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    The ATF and DEA operate above the law. Both should be dismantled.

  • Greg Past Nov 20, 2015
    user avatar

    This is why people hate law enforcement, they are reckless and stupid.