Man jailed for 82 days after honey brought from Jamaica mistaken for meth

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Man imprisoned for 82 days after Jamaican honey was mistaken for meth

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A man who was returning to the U.S. from Jamaica spent 82 days -- more than two and a half months in jail -- all because of honey.

K-9s alerted to Leon Haughton's suitcases when he flew into Baltimore Washington International airport late last year, WJLA reported.

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The dogs alerted handlers to what they believed to be drugs, but Haughton said it was only honey he brought from a roadside stand on his home island, The Washington Post reported.

Customs and Border Protection officials said the bottles didn't contain honey, but instead liquid meth, according to the newspaper.

Government officials said a test run at the airport had a positive result, WJLA reported.

Haughton sat at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center for 82 days as the items were sent to a lab in Georgia for secondary testing. Those tests came back negative and all charges against Haughton were dropped, WJLA reported.

"A specially trained drug-sniffing dog was alerted to the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and a preliminary test fone by the police officers further tested positive for a controlled dangerous substance. The confirmatory laboratory test showed there was no controlled dangerous substance inside the honey," a spokesperson for the Anne Arundel State's Attorney's Office told WJLA.

It took only 20 days for the test to come up negative, but Haughton is a legal permanent resident with a green card. After he was arrested at the airport and accused of felony drug offenses, he was put on federal detention, which extended his time in jail until all the charges were dropped and an additional federal test came back negative, The Washington Post reported.

His release also came in the middle of this year's government shutdown, so no one at Immigration and Customs Enforcement could be contacted to lift his hold, according to the newspaper.

Haughton also faced possible deportation, the Post reported.

Despite the charges being dropped, Haughton's life is not the same after being held in jail.

Haughton lost the two jobs he worked, his insurance was revoked and his credit was damaged, WJLA reported. Before his arrest, Haughton worked as a cleaner and construction worker, according to The Washington Post.

He said he is now living in a hotel after the ordeal, according to WJLA.

Haughton also said he lost friends over what happened, and no officials ever apologized, WRC reported.

"They messed up my life," Haughton told The Washington Post. "I want the world to know that the system is not right. If I didn't have strong people around me, they would probably leave me in jail. You're lost in the system."

Because of what happened to Haughton, Customs and Border Protection did tell WRC it is reviewing procedures but did not give specifics.

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