Meth

One Box of Sudafed Over the Line: Florida Woman Arrested for Trying to Relieve Allergy Symptoms

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While shopping with her husband in Quincy, Florida, on July 19, 2010, Mickey Goodson stopped by a Winn-Dixie drugstore to pick up some allergy pills. The pharmacist on duty suggested she buy two boxes of Sudafed, which she did. Thus began Goodson's entanglement with the criminal justice system, which featured searches of her car and home, along with drug charges that were not dropped until September 2011.

According to a lawsuit that Goodson filed earlier this month, she and her husband were accosted by Gadsden County sheriff's deputies as they left the pharmacy. The deputies confiscated the Sudafed, searched the couple's car, and instructed Goodson and her husband to follow them to the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. At the office Deputy William Buckhalt asked Goodson and her husband if he could search their home, presumably to verify that they were not using Sudafed to make methamphetamine. Not without a warrant, they said. "Oh, I'll get a search warrant," Buckhalt replied, according to Goodson's complaint.

And he did get a warrant, although a judge eventually decided that it was invalid because Buckhalt had withheld crucial information from the magistrate who approved it. As deputies served the warrant later that day, according to the lawsuit, one of them asked Goodson, "What have you gotten rid of?" To which Goodson replied, "I don't know what you are talking about!" According to Goodson's complaint, she was handcuffed on her front porch and charged with "possession of a controlled substance." Possessing pseudoephedrine is a crime in Florida if you buy more than the legal limit or plan to make methamphetamine with it.

The evidence of such a scheme apparently was limited to the amount of pseudoephedrine that Goodson bought. Two packages of 24-hour Sudafed, for example, contain 4.8 grams of pseudoephedrine, which is 1.2 grams more than the daily limit imposed by Florida law. Since January 2011, such purchases have been automatically blocked by a statewide database. At the time of Goodson's shopping trip, pharmacists were only required to keep written logs of pseudoephedrine sales. Still, if Goodson broke the law by buying more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine in one day, Winn-Dixie broke the law by selling it to her. The immediate arrival of sheriff's deputies nevertheless suggests that someone at the store called the cops.

In her lawsuit, which seeks "damages in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars," Goodson accuses Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Buckhalt, and a third deputy of false arrest and various Fourth Amendment violations. Is her story plausible? Sadly, yes. Goodson would not be the first innocent person who was treated like a criminal for buying what the government deems an excessive number of allergy pills.

[via Police State USA]

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30 responses to “One Box of Sudafed Over the Line: Florida Woman Arrested for Trying to Relieve Allergy Symptoms

  1. Winn-Dixie broke the law by selling it to her.

    That’ll be one *heck* of a search warrant.

  2. Has there been a more irrational, life-destroying moral panic in this country in the last couple of decades than the meth panic? Maybe the sex offender panic. But still, how do these cops and prosecutors live with themselves? (Yes, yes, I know, they have no souls. But still, you’d think they’d feel just the slightest twinge of guilt)

    1. I’d probably say sex offender by a narrow margin just b/c in some states it is a lifetime punishment.

      1. Advances in IT assure that any felony conviction carries a lifetime punishment.

        1. True. But I was thinking of the public sex-offender registries.

    2. But still, how do these cops and prosecutors live with themselves?

      Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil…

      1. They don’t need drugs to assuage their guilt because they don’t feel guilty. The injustice is intentional, and the main reason they get into law enforcement. It allows them to bring harm to the innocent and make the world a worse place.

  3. How dare any person question the bona fides of our brave men and women in uniform who daily confront evil in our behalf and risk their lives for our security!

    May damnation rain down upon all those who have ever disparaged our brave men and women in uniform, whether such disparagements be collective in nature or specific to one of our valorous heroes!

  4. The civil liberties violations here are an outrage, but even if you put that aside, it takes a special kind of moron to believe this is a good use of police resources.

    1. Municipal sequester?

    2. Did it fuck over an innocent person? Allow them to exercise arbitrary power over a peon? Then to them it’s an excellent use of police resources. Your mistake is believing they are interested in justice, or bettering society.

  5. Back in the day…I was at a Walgreens in Houston with my nephew. The man in front of me was purchasing way too much Sudafed. The checker informed him that she was going to ring it up as three separate transactions since she couldn’t sell that much in one.
    Were there more na?ve young checkers in our world.

    1. This was in my mail the other day from Cascade Policy Institute, which is normally pretty libertarian, discussing prescription requirements for Sudafed:

      It doesn’t have to be this way.

      A number of other states, including Oklahoma, Alabama, and Kentucky, have experienced drastic success against meth criminals due to targeted legislative solutions that penalize criminals, not consumers. Each of those states employs an electronic pseudoephedrine tracking system that automatically blocks illegal pseudoephedrine purchases and provides law enforcement with critical evidence that leads to meth busts and arrests. Oklahoma, for instance, uses a meth-offender block list, which prohibits certain drug offenders from being able to buy pseudoephedrine products.

      1. Goddam squirrels. This was supposed to be at the bottom as a separate comment, not a reply.

  6. I saw a program on PBS about the Heroic Cops who were seeking the Necessary Legislative Tool To Combat Meth, versus Selfish Pharma Companies who Wanted to Make Profitz off of Allerge Medicines While Heedless of the Meth Scourge. And it was just that simple-minded.

  7. A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United
    States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to
    obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any
    time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis
    of useful amounts of the desired material.

    Old, but still amuses. No, actually, kinda depressing.

  8. I’m guessing the lack of a dead dog is due soley to them being cat people

  9. Seriously, just legalize unlimited quantity OTC sales of Desoxyn already, shutting down all the black market dealers and home manufacturers. Then go back to letting people buy effective decongestants.

  10. Ah Quincy, full of Coca-Cola money and poor people. (No really, a bunch of people bought Coke stock back in the day from some door-to-door salesman and got rich.) Seventy-five large is too little. Add a zero and see if they’ll settle.

  11. Two packages of 24-hour Sudafed, for example, contain 4.8 grams of pseudoephedrine, which is 1.2 grams more than the daily limit imposed by Florida law. Since January 2011, such purchases have been automatically blocked by a statewide database.

    Pretty soon, they’ll be doing the same thing when you try to buy more than 2 donuts in a single day.

    1. When they pry them fron my dead chubby fingers.

    2. No chance. The police unions wouldn’t allow it.

  12. Goodson accuses Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Buckhalt, and a third deputy of false arrest and various Fourth Amendment violations.

    We need to figure out a way where these lawsuits personally hurt the accused. Personally.

    1. Taking their fat pensions, I would say.

  13. One of our all-time favorite meaningless hassles: we use a similar product and have done for 30 years but now have to skulk into the pharmacy and produce ID and hold up the line and we can’t even legally buy the dose originally recommended by our physician. Without it, we get sinus infections. Good work, FDA, DoJ, and others in concert.

  14. Ironic that this abuse of power occurred in Gadsden County. Whatever happened to “Don’t Tread on Me”?

  15. Goodson would not be the first innocent person who was treated like a criminal for buying what the government deems an excessive number of allergy pills.

    Whaddaya mean, “innocent”? She broke the law, didn’t she? Throw the book at her, I say. If we can save one life from meth addiction, we need to make the effort. And even if this turns out to have literally no effect on meth addiction, it’s important to enforce the law in order to send the right message.

  16. Evidence that government budgets should be cut by 150%.

    The last 50% can be taken in kind.

  17. why don’t these people just cook up their own sudafed using readily available methamphetamine?

  18. I’ll just wait here for the DEA
    http://www.ego-vero.net/main/?p=1328

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