A couple spent 2 months in jail after cops mistook a bag of baking soda for cocaine.
The nightmare began for Gail Griffin and her husband, Wendall Harvey, who haul explosives for the U.S. military, in May when guards at fort Chaffee performed a routine gate search on their truck.
Agents found several bags of baking soda in the rig. Griffin explained she suffers from chronic upset stomach, but officers on the scene didn’t believe her and administered a $2 portable drug test. The test returned a false positive result that the powder was a controlled substance.
Via the NY Daily News:
“They thought we had like 13.2 ounces of cocaine,” Griffin said. “The guy said I had over $300,000 in cocaine.”
Griffin and Harvey were held at a detention facility for 10 days before the court approved them a public defender. Weeks rolled by before they were assigned a specific attorney. Behind bars, they couldn’t contact their loved ones because they did not have their phone numbers memorized.
“I felt like I was somewhere that didn’t feel like America. I can’t call anybody, nobody knows where I’m at,” Harvey said.
“I thought that I’d died and gone to hell,” Griffin told the TV station.
The couple’s lawyer begged prosecution to expedite the more accurate lab tests, which would prove that the mysterious white powder was only baking soda. Prosecution waited another four weeks before requesting the lab speed up the case.
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 truck drivers were released, but it took another month for them to get their impounded truck back. The drug suspicious led the military to deny them security clearances, effectively putting them out of work.
The sad part is folks are getting railroaded like this on the daily. SMH