It’s never a good idea to take a lot of cash with you through the airport. The government can take the cash by saying your bag smells like pot (or saying that a dog thinks it smells like pot). No charges need every be filed. This isn’t an isolated experience.
Maybe your Uber driver’s trunk smelled like pot and your bag was closed up inside for half an hour.
In fact flying Chicago – Los Angeles is enough of a reason for the government to suspect you of being a drug dealer and take whatever money you may be carrying.
But what if the government doesn’t take your cash, and takes your jar of honey instead? A man recently spent 82 days in jail because he returned home to the U.S., bringing a jar of honey with him from Jamaica. The government decided it was meth even though it wasn’t.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who searched Haughton’s bag upon his arrival to Baltimore/Washington International Airport said the honey he was carrying tested positive for drugs.
“They said I was charged with methamphetamine, so I said, ‘what is methamphetamine?'” Haughton told CNN affiliate WJLA.
Charging documents say the 46-year-old man told officers he had purchased the honey on the side of a road in Jamaica, but officers suspected it was liquid meth.
Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo
A drug-sniffing dog ‘alarmed’ (which really means that the dog’s handler decided the dog noticed something). Then a ‘preliminary test’ determined the honey was drugs “according to a probable cause statement.”
Charges were eventually dropped after a lab test determined there was no drugs, just honey. In the interim the man – who has six children – lost his job, his insurance, and his good credit score.
According to prosecutors, “there was no error made in this case” and the system worked the way it was supposed to — because after 82 days the man was released. The man was offered his honey back. He says he doesn’t want it.