Drug War

A Man Spent 82 Days in Jail on Meth Charges. The Meth Was Actually Honey.

Government incompetence made an innocent man spend months in jail and lose both of his jobs.

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Leon Haughton, a legal green card holder from Jamaica who has lived in Maryland for almost 10 years, arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on December 29 following his yearly pilgrimage back home. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained him. For what, he wasn't sure.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police then arrested him, telling him that the bottles in his bag labeled "honey" had tested positive for methamphetamine. A police dog sniffed Haughton's bag raising suspicion that he had drugs, and a field test at the airport yielded positive results for meth. He spent the next 82 days in jail.

Except the bottles really were full of honey. Maryland State Police lab test results confirmed that on January 17, and prosecutors dropped three felony drug counts six days later.

Yet he stayed in jail. The state was still pursuing a misdemeanor possession charge, the lab results notwithstanding, because Maryland's lab is not fully equipped to test liquids. On January 24, Haughton and his lawyer sought his immediate release on bail. It was denied.

Citing the K-9 hit and the positive field test, prosecutors maintained the lesser charge while law enforcement sent the bottles to a Homeland Security lab in Georgia for more testing.

Normally, Haughton would've been released on his own recognizance since the charges levied against him had been whittled down to one misdemeanor. But the original felony counts triggered an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer—so if the state released him, the feds could arrest and deport him. Haughton's legal saga took place in the midst of the winter's lengthy government shutdown, meaning that no one could get in touch with the agency to have the detainer lifted.

"The ICE detainer is really prohibitive," said Laura M. Robinson, a U.S. District Court judge for Anne Arundel County, during Haughton's third bail review hearing on February 5, according to The Washington Post. "I'm kind of up against it on the ICE detainer."

Haughton would not go home until March 21, when the new lab results came in and the state finally dropped the remaining charge.

The case highlights a heap of inane government incompetence. Why would an immigration detainer remain in place for a misdemeanor drug offense, even after the government shutdown ended on January 25? Why was Haughton's honey tested at the first lab if that facility was not prepared to render a result? Why did it need to be tested three times to get an accurate result, and why did that take so many months to complete?

During the ordeal, Haughton lost both of his jobs, one as a cleaner and the other as a construction worker. He also has six children, and he says that their school performance suffered immensely while he was away.

"It broke me right down," Haughton told The Post. His children kept asking him, "When are you coming home?"

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  1. Now watch as the Washington Post and its moron readers turn this into a race issue rather than a wtf why is our system so fucked that we jail people based on what cops tell their dogs to alert to, and what the hell broke down in our system to cause the substances to test positive when they were clearly not containing any drugs?

    But no, lets talk about race because fuck it, none of us really want to fix anything.

    1. The idea is that if the honey triggered a false positive on some phony-baloney drug test, then the cops check the race of the suspect and if he’s white they just release him.

      No, I doubt it.

      Unless he met some kind of “drug courier profile” – maybe they *are* on the lookout for Jamaicans having drugs, I dunno.

      But if their phony-baloney drug test gave a positive result for Harry the Hillbilly, I suspect he might have gotten the same treatment.

      1. Eddy’s colorblind society — especially among the kind of people drawn to the drug war and border patrol — is a thing of beauty. Illusory beauty.

        1. “Unless he met some kind of “drug courier profile” – maybe they *are* on the lookout for Jamaicans having drugs, I dunno.”

          And did you miss the phrase “phony-baloney drug test”?

          I would suggest, though, that since meth is a stereotypically “white” drug, white people shouldn’t indulge the supposition that they’ll be free from harassment based on meth charges.

          See this story, for example, where a white dude was busted for meth based on his possession of *kitty litter.*

          https://reason.com/2017/01/09/cops-mistake-cat-litter-for-meth-in-mass/

          Where was this guy’s white privilege when he really needed it?

          1. The problem is that the fields tests are not “phony baloney” in the sense that the cops using them know they aren’t very accurate. The higher-is get sold on a field test and the test is handed down to the cops, who (this being a bureaucracy) already have too much paperwork to get through in two lifetimes. The cops read the instructions, DON’T read the fine print (printed helpfully in tiny-winy type, in light blue against a light grey background), and then assume that the test works. And the “War 0n Drugs’ nonsense has soooo much traction that challenging the test is far harder then it should be. The COMPANY may know the tests are trash, but the people buying them are often snookered.

            The courts have been appalling one this kind of thing; they won’t let people challenge the breath-test technology, although it’s common knowledge that it isn’t accurate below the 10nths level (making the shift from blood alcohol .1 to .08 a legal absurdity), they slavishly accept the use of field drug tests when a Magic 8-Ball would get better results, and they decline to look at the strong evidence that ‘drug sniffing dogs’ are a false pretext.

            1. It’s worse than that. The cops get told in training “don’t do THIS, you’ll get a false positive (wink wink nudge nudge).”

              What do you THINK the cops are gonna do?

          2. You are responding to RALK. He is a dipshit who deals only in cliches and bad faith. Just make fun of him and move on

        2. Rev, we know you are laser focused on people’s color, but not everyone gives a shit about race like you do.

          1. You have it backward.
            The activist hucksters have been glomming on to cases like this for the last decade and declaring them to be proof of racism. This has the effect of instantly polarizing the debate, rendering the entire exercise useless.

            If the problem with police abuse is that police officers are racist… then what? Exactly what happens next? We yell at them for being racist? Perform electro-shock therapy to fry their frontal cortex?

            It not just a useless argument, it is an argument that is guaranteed to put an end to any progress on solving problems with the police state. Because there is no action that can be taken, short of banning white people from working in government.

            We were really making progress on the war on drugs and abusive police tactics before “hands up, don’t shoot”. Then with #BLM the conversation moved from law, tactics and training to “RACISM!!!”. And all progress ceased. It took Trump to cut through that noise and get something done.

            So yeah, the current litmus test of “did it happen to a person of color” is destructive to the cause, and should be called out at every opportunity.

            1. “So yeah, the current litmus test of “did it happen to a person of color” is destructive to the cause, and should be called out at every opportunity.”

              Because that’s how you pretend that rampant racism in law enforcement doesn’t exist – you just argue that racial animus is never a factor.

              Dipshits gonna dipshit.

      2. It’s not necessary to check the race only after the positive results snafu. They could decide to pick only brown people for the initial investigation, and we all know how K-9 alerts are more likely responding to controller cues, intentional or not, than to actual drugs.

        1. The Jamaica angle may indicate profiling, as I said above.

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      4. Of course they’re on the lookout for Jamaicans. Didn’t Kamala Harris say they were all into pot?

      5. In any case, this shows once more the “collateral damage” of the war on drugs. It clearly is not worth it, most of it should be legalized.

        Prohibitions usually don’t work and generally should be only a means of last resort. Maybe it is worth it for the most dangerous of hard drugs and of course explosives and other devices used for mass killings, but not for the rest and certainly not for most of todays prohibited drugs.

        1. Hey Bart , America must do something to stop the DRUGS from mentally harming and KILLING our children and young people. This political correctness is destroying our Country. What is wrong with you? ARE YOU ON DRUGS TOO?

    2. “Now watch as the Washington Post and its moron readers turn this into a race issue …”

      They already did so in an Aug. 23rd article.

      Just search “honey” on their site.

    3. It’s framed as a race issue because that’s the problem that can’t be fixed. Fixing the bureaucracy means fixing a lot of concrete things that are either sacred cows or hobby horses for too many powerful people. Just saying “race” without pointing out exactly who and what was the racist process is something you can generate tens of thousands of words in newspapers on and then submit for pulitzers.

      1. Just saying “race” without pointing out exactly who and what was the racist process is something you can generate tens of thousands of words in newspapers on and then submit for pulitzers.

        This hasn’t won Pulitzers in years. You have to point to exactly who was racist, explain how his race factors in to his systemic bias (unless he’s white), and then run out the piece on psychobabble about how brainwashing humans of systemic bias will solve all our problems. And even that Pulitzer recipe is a bit dated.

        1. I think Diane Reynolds is right. Yes, you name the racist, etc. But the point is that racism can’t really be “solved” in a concrete way since it’s a thought. This is a very convenient perpetual problem that–importantly, for the ruling class–does not require anyone important to lose power. On the contrary, it means more training programs (as if the reason people are falsely accused is that the corrupt accuser didn’t know that was wrong) and more funding.

          That said, I really do think that the corrupt law enforcement system in the US is a particularly violent outlet for racism. While you can’t really get rid of racism, you can at least reduce its violent outlets.

          1. While you can’t really get rid of racism, you can at least reduce its violent outlets.

            ^ This. Having positions available where you get to go do violence to people with impunity is the real problem. Get rid of those, and who cares about racists?

    4. The honey wouldn’t have tested positive for meth if Haughton was white.

  2. Let me guess – nobody will be disciplined, much less prosecuted, for what they did.

    1. HE WAS A FOREIGNER. (Although the same thing applies to citizen screwups as well.)

      1. “But the original felony charges triggered an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer—so if the state released him, the feds could arrest and deport him.”

        ICE was involved. ICE’s number one job is to punish un-Americans for not being Americans… Don’t forget, this man was here to STEAL OUR JERBS!!! So ICE is “just doing it’s job” of punishing the un-Americans and garnishing votes from the knuckle-draggers, for The Chosen One!

        1. You are such a loser.

          1. Thank you SOOOO very much for your deeply learned, fully informed, and helpful comments! I now FINALLY know just HOW I should live my life! THANK YOU!!!

            1. Squirrely, do you understand that your idiotic racing actually destroys any legitimate argument you might make for your position? You are actually helping my side of this.

              So please, keep on going.

              1. Thank Your Supreme Being-ness SOOOO very much for Your deeply learned, fully informed, uber-sage and helpful comments! I now FINALLY know just HOW I should live my life! THANK YOU!!!

        2. He actually stole 2 jerbs according to Billy. Apparently nobody was keeping track. Now we’ll have to deport another Jamaican to even the score.

      2. That means prohibitionist pseudoscience now has given a pretext for jerking the innocent victim’s visa and deporting him back to “wherever he came from” as POTUS puts it. Charges not proven are grounds for denying or setting excessively high bond in removal proceedings. The practice of pretending that plant leaves (modified epinephrine) are avatars of Satanic Possession as in the Devils of Loudon has for centuries been pretext for cruelty by the violence of law. It’s a foolish resident alien that misses the chance to donate to LP.org

    2. All policies and procedures were followed…

      1. Exactly. That’s why no one will be sanctioned for this, because there is no one person that’s at fault. It would require you streamline the government which means massive cuts- you deprecate or eliminate entire agencies (the press hates that), you clip the wings of the public sector unions and introduce real accountability (the press REALLY hates that). But those aren’t going to happen. So let’s just repeat “brown people!!1!!” like we have for the last 70 years and not really fix anything.

  3. The incompetence and indifference — from the original “hits” to the leisurely testing, from the silly detainer to the lack of accountability — are strong evidence that drug warriors and xenophobes should not be permitted to work for our government.

    A Palestinian Harvard student, arriving for orientation, was interrogated and deported by ICErs the other day for the crimes of (1) being brown and (2) having friends whose political opinions were said to be disliked by one or more of the recently emboldened, authoritarian jerks guarding our border.

    We can’t remove the bigoted, authoritarian hands from the levers of government power fast enough. They will be replaced, however. By their betters.

    1. Yeah, we just need kinder and gentler cops with rainbow flags on their uniforms, so they’ll stop being xenophobic and be equal-opportunity oppressors.

      Thanks to Reason, I found this case of a woman arrested for “meth possession” based on having cotton candy in her car. Take a good look at the woman – at least to me, she doesn’t look like a brown-skinned immigrant.

      http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/i-team/macon-woman-sues-over-candy-that-falsely-tested-positive-for-meth

      1. You’re not going to get Kirkland off of his narrative. You couldn’t separate it from him with dynamite. He can’t be wrong, because that would require objective thought.

        1. And you can’t get objective thought out of the vacuum between its ears.

        2. You’d have an easier time getting the altar boy out of his bum.

      2. That woman does not look like a meth user, but she does look like an avid cotton candy user.

      3. Yes, the system is fucked, and it’s fucked merely by being coercive monopolistic government. But just as government paychecks don’t turn ordinary biased people into model non-partisan arbiters of justice, neither do government paychecks turn off bigotry and racism. I’d say if anything, government paychecks for cops especially attract the control freaks and power-mad bigots.

        1. I’m suggesting that *even if* they could be persuaded to be 100% color-blind they could still screw people over. I didn’t mean they’ve completely achieved color-blindness, but obviously any “edge” enjoyed by white people was difficult to spot in the stories I linked.

          1. Racism is excessively harped on, to be sure, by the “woke folks”. What is often not paid much attention to is “classism”. Look dirt poor to the cops, and they know you’re probably not going to afford fancy lawyers or political power to make the cops look bad. So under the bus you get thrown! … These “field tests” have a lot of “subjective” to them. Does this bag of chemicals look blue to you, copper? Answer is a lot higher to be “yes” if you are poor… Or lip off to the cop too much!

            1. Racism is excessively harped on, to be sure, by the “woke folks”. What is often not paid much attention to is “classism”

              One might even speculate that the bourgie “woke folks” specifically get uncomfortable when the conversation turns to class rather than race or whatever other non-socioeconomic-class-based forms of oppression they would prefer to focus on.

              1. Yeah, my guess is that in a lot of cases, the racial angle is actually derived from a class angle, and appears racial via the correlation between race and class.

                That said, a lot of it probably is just straight up racism.

                1. the racial angle is actually derived from a class angle, and appears racial via the correlation between race and class.

                  That’s my sense, too. You don’t see a lot of stories about black lawyers getting pulled over in their BMWs and shot by cops.

                  a lot of it probably is just straight up racism

                  Maybe, but I’m not sure what that term even really means, anymore. Do you mean in the “I’m gonna go hunt me down some Black people” sense, or the “this is a black ghetto and all of these people are probably criminals, even those homeless-looking white guys over there” sense?

                  Both could be described as “racist,” but the former is more what we think of as an active evil, the latter more just lazy thinking that’s pretty typical of humans.

          2. Not just “could” screw people over – they still would, for the non-race-based reasons we see in this, and the several cases you linked to.

    2. “We can’t remove the bigoted, authoritarian hands from the levers of government power fast enough. They will be replaced, however. By their betters.”

      So you want to give power to the fake Cherokee anti-authoritarian? Or the actual communist “put the energy company execs in gulags” anti-authoritarian? Or the “keep the innocent guy in prison and put the parents of truants in jail” anti-authoritarian?

      Which of these do you consider a better?

    3. So why do you keep supporting the people and the party that filled the government with drug warriors and xenophobes?

      1. If you think that’s just one party, seek therapy.

    4. If only the levers could be removed because… ahhh fuck it.

    5. True, the sooner we remove Liawatha, AOC, Bernie, Schumer, Diblasio, Biden et al from government, the better.

    6. So the student.

      He is a Palestinian from Lebanon. There is a big topic about that which I will not get into.

      The 17 year old apparently is high level smart. Scored high enough to get a slot in Harvard as undergrad and plans to go into medicine.

      All good, right? So he was denied entry based on some kind of search into posts and whatever from friends and the media is blocked so you and I do not know much about that.

      I am as pro Israel as you can get. Sounds like this young man is being treated unfairly.

    7. Note to foreign readers: All Kirkland posts are quickly followed by concerted hyena-pack reactions from jobless mystical Republicans sent here to “digitally influence” godless libertarian upstarts. This is easily corroborated by looking at past posts.

  4. Maryland’s lab is not fully equipped to test liquids.

    Right.

    1. Without being able to test within a day or so, the charge should have been dismissed with prejudice.

      1. Total fantasy scenario:

        JUDGE: OK, prosecutor, it’s time for this guy you accused of meth-dealing to be put on trial.

        PROSECUTOR: The People are not ready, Your Honor, we still need to complete some more drug tests.

        JUDGE: You accused him, didn’t you? Presumably you had enough evidence at that time. Have witnesses gone missing since then?

        PROSECUTOR: No, it’s just that while our field tests were good enough to justify our charges, they aren’t good enough for a full-blown trial.

        JUDGE: If you wanted more time to make your case, you should have waited before charging this guy. As it is, your charge triggered his right to a speedy trial, so let’s get this speedy trial started.

        PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, we don’t have our evidence ready until the test results come in.

        JUDGE: Use the evidence you have.

        PROSECUTOR: That’s so unfair!

        JUDGE: Are you prosecuting this case or not? Present your evidence.

        PROSECUTOR: You’re honor, we don’t have all our ducks in a row yet…

        JUDGE: Speedy trial violation, charges dismissed. You’ll go to jail for the same period this guy had to spend awaiting trial.

        1. “You’ll go to jail for the same period this guy had to spend awaiting trial.”

          Great idea!

        2. From the story I get the impression that the judge may have delayed his release to prevent ICE from deporting the guy. If so good on her.

          1. If so, sounds like sedition to me.

            1. Sedition?

              Now I am interested.

  5. An angle here on this one that bothers me: Shutdowns of Government Almighty. When Government Almighty is shut down, they never stop paying for the “vitally essential services” of those who are authorized to apprehend, detain, and-or kill us! But, processing the paperwork so that the innocent can go free!??! A TOTALLY non-essential function!!! Shut ‘er down for the duration!!!

    What ever happened to “it is better for 10 guilty persons to go free, than to punish one innocent person”? The bigger that Government Almighty gets, the more of this SHIT that we will see!!! Step #1: STOP the stupid war on drugs!!!

  6. Haughton’s legal saga took place in the midst of the winter’s lengthy government shutdown, meaning that no one could get in touch with the agency to have the detainer lifted.

    LOL.

  7. Honey?
    Meth?
    It’s all the same to cops, so no harm done.

  8. #interesting is the only thing I can say
    یلینک

  9. Terrible; however, you are still nuts If you vote for Biden or Warren.

  10. He should sue, and trust me, the government would NOT want me on that jury. By the time it was over and he got his check, he’d be looking back on this as the best thing that ever happened to him.

    1. Come on, there aren’t any SC precedents specifically about honey being mistaken for meth leading to lengthy detention without bail when the detained person was not a citizen. So qualified immunity all around. Which means no jury will hear the case.

  11. “The Meth Was Actually Honey”
    Sweet!

    1. Well, if it was honey, I would imagine so. And in the words of Homer Simpson……..”mmmmmmm………methalicious”

  12. The real question is this:
    How accurate are the drug dogs? False positive rate and false negative rate! And if the police don’t keep statistics, the prosecution shouldn’t be able to use the dog as probable cause.

    How accurate are the field tests? Again, false positive vs. false negative.

    1. Just answered my own question:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_v._Harris

      Apparently as long as the dog is certified….

      1. Reason circulated the video of a dope dog being cruelly abused by a disappointed looter cop. The dogs are slaves owned by looters empowered by pseudoscience to rob and murder people over victimless impiety or ordinary trade and production. They “alert” to avoid being throttled or beaten by cowards with guns.

  13. Qualified Immunity means the “fuck you, that’s why” happens at every level of the process, from arrest to Supreme Court.

  14. I think about this issue often. I love Coffeemate, which is a white powder. I know you can sometimes get it in pre-measured packets, but I have a hard time finding these so sometimes I carry some “doses” in a little plastic bag when I travel…through airports.

    It tastes great in Espresso. I have other friends who love it too. I am lactose intolerant and cannot tolerate milk or cream.

    I sometimes wonder if I will go to jail for my little “habit.”

    Apparently it could happen.

    Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)

    1. Find a Cash and Carry, Smart and Final, maybe a Sam’s Club or Costco, WalMart Super Store, who knows, maybe even a dollar store.. back east try an Aldi’s or HEB, but don’t meess around . We gots us a buncha wanna be HEEROWES looking to make that big bust and finding some non-descript white powder could make him kick his dog at just the right time, then ioff you go for ninety days or so…

      Better yet, check out some of the non-dairy “milk” products.. almond, rice, oat, all taste very good, are available in the aswptic pack boxes that keep without refirigeration. Some have a screw type resealing lid that works well, Buy one, put it in your hand luggage still sealed. No questions there. Use it ditch it give it away before your return leg, bring another full one in your cabin luggage. Yes it will weight about two pounds. So what?
      Sometime when you are bored, read the ingredient list on that coffee mate… scary stuff in there. Not good for you at all. Almond, oat, rice “milk” are all clean. Stay away from the soy, it does wierd things with our hormones. Leave that for the ladies.

      1. Tionico, I loved your post and smiled through it. Coffeemate is actually horrible for your health. It is worse than scary. I usually use unsweetened soy milk for my espressos.

        Yes, soy is high in plant estrogens. I already have had a family so am not worried about it. But I do like Coffeemate and appreciated your suggestions.

        I don’t understand why I would complain about sweetening in various milk substitutes….after all…Coffeemate is adulerated with sugar of the worse kind. I only use Coffeemate when I travel and when other milk substitutes are not available. BUT, I do like it. (Shame, shame, shame). I am an old man. This is probably my worst sin.
        It is “insane” to fill a little plastic bag with “white powder.” My wife and I laugh about it….but maybe no more….

        Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)

  15. Well, since Fedgov are NOT given the slightest bit of authority to regulate or control what we do/do not put into our bodies, WHY is it even “illegal” for him to bring meth back with him on his trip home to Jamaica?
    Never shouldda been a crime to even think about arresting him for it.

    Hope he has a good lawyer, or can find one, he’d got quite a case of false imprisonment, unlawful detainer. etc And the coppers who ran those “field tests” need to get their toys recalibrated. How many OTHERS have been tossed into the ol’ CrowBar Hotel on a false positive? SOMEONE should be rechecking that ossifer’s “work”.

    SOrt a reminds me of that super dirty copper in Houston who kept a stach of heroin in the trunk of his cruiser. Had he not taken a bullet from one of his buds in that phoney raid where two innocents were killed, it is likely that would have turned up INSIDE the house as “evidence” to “justify” yet one more drug bust. Justice seems to be coming out, though.. looks like that dirty copper is being charged wiht murder. Looks good on him. He’s got a nasty track record..
    But what I wonder in both these cases is this: so we have a few dirty coppers.. WHERE are the GOOD coppers who will/should have blown the whistle on the dirty ones? NO WAY that one now charged with murders was NEVer known or seen to have been planting a bag, falsifying “evidence” to pull a warrant, etc. WHY do his bro cops zip it when he’s being dirty? How many of the coppers on this false bust see “stuff” that is wrong, and zip it?

  16. I recently wrote a brief for the 5th Circuit regarding government’s “culture of incompetence” fostered by unabated public corrupt. Meaning that in our cases public corruption did not follow the rule of law which confused public employees whom may abide the law, creating a culture of incompetence. I’ve seen a lot worse than this article conveys. The problem with corruption is that government gives itself immunity and corruption can never be addressed. It goes from the very tippy top (FBI) to the very roots (illegal voting).

  17. Gimme a P, gimme an I, gimme a P…. what does it spell??? COP!

    I sure wish we could train dogs to alert to corrupt COPS and Politicians!

  18. Coming back from Jamaica vacation. Bought a jar of that Jerk sauce for chicken at the airport. If you have not had that grilled chicken they make there you have never eaten chicken.

    So customs guy sees this unopened jar of green chopped stuff. Had to go through the whole routine. Like I need to bring back weed if I wanted it. People have been growing that stuff around here forever. I don’t indulge but cmon.

  19. Now that he doesn’t have a job, can we deport him?

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