Could there possibly be anything more innocent than soap? Maybe little fluffy baby lambs or oatmeal raising cookies. Well, one couple spent a whole month in jail all over soap. Police mistook two bricks of homemade soap for cocaine. Homemade soap, people. Annadel Cruz and Alexander Bernstein were transporting their wholesome product from New York to Florida when a state trooper pulled them over for speeding (five measly MPH over the limit). The trooper smelled pot and searched the car.
Cruz admitted to the police she had indeed been smoking, just not in the car. (Marijuana was found in her bra, which ... who cares and why did she need to be searched there?!?) Anyway, the trooper found these two white bricks wrapped in plastic and red tape and got all excited, apparently. But the charges were no joke.
Cruz and Bernstein were charged with possession of cocaine, intent to deliver it, conspiracy, and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were both thrown in jail and given hefty bonds, $500,000 for Bernstein and $250,000 for Cruz. You would think the overwhelming soap scent and the waxy texture of the soap would convince the trooper he was mistaken. But here's the weird thing -- when he did a field test of the soap, it came up positive for cocaine.
It turns out the field test was wrong. Lab tests eventually cleared Cruz and Bernstein -- long after Bernstein had missed Thanksgiving with his 17-month-old son. Not to mention, the couple missed a month of their lives. I'm sure they had things to do, you know? Just like the rest of us. And their names were in the papers as drug dealers.
So while I snickered when I first saw the headline (mistaking soap for cocaine -- hello, Keystone Cops), this was definitely NOT hilarious to Cruz and Bernstein. It was a nightmare. And I'm worried about these field lab tests. Kinda sounds like they're not so reliable. What if the same thing happened to me? I think field tests are a good idea in theory, but not if they're this off. And I don't think a field test should carry enough weight to land you in jail for a month.
What would happen to everything going on in your life if you were mistakenly jailed for a month?
Image via Susie Cushner/Graphistock/Corbis