A Georgia woman was jailed for nearly 4 months for meth trafficking and possession of meth with intent to distribute, due to a roadside drug test identifying a bag of blue cotton candy as methamphetamine.
Dasha Fincher is suing Monroe County, Georgia; Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Maples; Deputy Allen Henderon, and Sirchie Acquisitions (the manufacturers of the drug test) after being arrested at a traffic stop on New Year’s Eve in 2016. The deputies claimed Fincher was stopped because the car in which she was riding had a dark window tint, but later conceded the windows were legal.
In his report on the arrest, Deputy Maples wrote that Fincher “became very nervous and started to shake” when they asked to search their vehicle, and that she became “very anxious” when they asked what was in the bag of cotton candy.
Fincher was charged with a bond set at $1 million, which she was unable to pay. Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab tests did not clear her name until March 2017, and she was not released until the following April. While in jail, she missed the birth of her twin grandsons and was unable to with her daughter when she had a miscarriage.
“I want Monroe County to pay for what they did to me,” Fincher told local media.
The suit alleges that the deputies were not properly trained to identify street drugs, and that the Nark II test that implicated Fincher’s bag of cotton candy has a history of false positive drug tests.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ricky Davis referred questions on the case to county attorney Benjamin Vaughn. When Grit Post reached out to Vaughn, he declined to comment, but did say he was unsure whether or not the Nark II test was still being in use by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Monroe County Sheriff Al Shackelford has not yet returned Grit Post’s request for comment as of this writing.
This is the second highly publicized incident of a sugared snack being mistaken for methamphetamines by roadside tests this year. Last July, an Orlando retiree was cuffed, strip-searched, and held in jail for 10 hours after officers mistook the glaze from a Krispy Kreme donut for meth.
Nathan Wellman is a Grit Post contributing editor in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW. You can also email him at info AT gritpost DOT com.