In a sad incident of mistaken substance in the US, a couple spent two months in jail without having committed any crime. A truck-driving couple was arrested when the police mistakenly confused bags of baking soda for cocaine.
According to a report by New York Daily, Gale Griffin and her husband, Wendall Harvey, were detained for eight weeks while they eagerly waited for a “lab to overturn the in-the-field drug test that detected illegal drugs in their truck.”
In May, during a regular inspection of the trucks by the Fort Chaffee, an Army National Guard facility the team found several bags of certain ‘white powder’. Since Harvey was a regular supplier of weapons to the military these were routine inspections until things took a sad turn. The report added, “Griffin, who suffers from a chronic upset stomach, said she buys the powder in bulk and takes it on the board in more portable baggies.”
Despite the couple explaining that the powder was “harmless baking soda”, the police were doubtful. “They used a portable drug test — a $2 kit that is known for its high frequency of false positives — on the substance,” The report said.
The report quoted Griffin saying, “They thought we had like 13.2 ounces of cocaine. The guy said I had over $300,000 in cocaine.”
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To add to their miseries, the couple who could not remember any contact number of their relatives and friend it was several days before they were assigned attorneys for them to appeal. Their lawyer pleaded for a lab test again to prove them innocent but by the time court agreed four weeks had passed.
“On July 14 — two months after Griffin and Harvey were first arrested — the lab finally processed the substance. Officials confirmed it was only baking soda,” the report stated. Their plight did not end after their release. The military denied them security clearance on suspicion that they deal with drug, which ultimately made them jobless.
The incident came to light when the duo decided to let the world know as they think many others have been victim of such misunderstanding. “It’s a mistake, but these mistakes happen quite often I think,” Harvey added.
Police agreed that the test kit is not very fit for correct results but said they did not have any other suitable alternative.