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Thread: Inaccurate drug test lands couple in jail for two and a half months

  1. #1

    Inaccurate drug test lands couple in jail for two and a half months

    How many innocent people are there in prison?

    Gale Griffin and her husband Wendell Harvey are truck drivers who have been transporting explosives for the military for years.
    They have top security clearance, and they’ve never been in trouble with the law. So in May, while driving through Arkansas, they weren't concerned when police stopped them in Fort Chaffee.
    "We have no relationship with anyone who deals drugs,” said Harvey, who is a former police officer.
    Harvey watched as the police pulled three baggies filled with baking soda out of the cab of the truck.
    “I told them, ‘That’s baking soda,’” Harvey said.
    The police then tested the substance.
    “We tested it three different times,” said Chuck Bowen with Fort Chaffee Police. “We got a positive conclusion each time we tested.”
    With that, police informed the couple they were in legal trouble.
    "He said, ‘You have over $3,000 in cocaine,’” Griffin said.
    “I told him, 'I've never had two nickels to rub together, are you crazy?'" Griffin said. "Then [the police officer] said, 'I’ve never had two nickels to rub together either, but now I’m the owner of your truck.”
    He went on to say the police confiscated their truck, put them behind bars and held the couple on $10,000 bail.
    “I felt cut off from reality; it felt very strange — someplace that doesn’t feel like America to me,” Harvey said.
    The couple spent two-and-a-half months in jail, unable to make bail.
    “It was just crawling with bugs — it was unbelievably cold, blasting, blasting cold air,” Griffin said.
    She said she was only allowed out of her cell for an hour a day and the conditions where horrible.
    “For the first three or four weeks, I just shivered. I didn’t have any socks,” Griffin said.
    Eventually, the state of Arkansas tested the substance at the insistence of the Arkansas Public Defender’s office. All the test came back negative, meaning the white powdery substance was not cocaine.
    How could this happen? In part, it is due to the field test that most law enforcement across the country uses.
    The test for cocaine is called the Scott Reagent Field test, costs $2 each and it is used by almost all law enforcement agencies, including those in Utah.
    “They are not infallible; they are subject to misreading,” said Greg Parrish with the Arkansas Public Defender’s Office.
    Data appears to back that up.
    In Las Vegas, authorities reexamined a sampling of field tests conducted from 2010 to 2013 and found that 33 percent of them had resulted in false positives. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says 21 percent of evidence they believed to be meth, was, after further testing, not meth at all.
    Studies also show that more than 100,000 people are convicted or plead guilty to drug charges based on these tests each year.
    Most Utah law enforcement agencies uses some form of these tests.
    “I’m not saying it doesn’t happen — it’s just I’m not aware of a case we’ve dealt with where that is the case,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s office.
    He said his agency uses the test as a way to get probable cause, and he feels they are reasonably accurate.
    After Cannon showed 2News' Chris Jones how to use one of the substance tests, Jones went online and purchased the same test police use.
    Using household items like Comet, aspirin, cold medicine and chocolate, four of the 10 items resulted in a false positive.
    Salt Lake County Prosecutor Sim Gill said that if there are problems with the test that is concerning — or if the District Attorney’s office takes a drug case to trial — the evidence must undergo a more accurate laboratory test.
    “If the prosecution is going to move forward, we are going to insist on that it has a lab test or a [toxicology] review is done that will actually confirm that the substance in the field is what the officer believed it to be,” Gill said.
    As for Harvey and Griffin, they only recently got their truck back from Arkansas authorities. But they say the truck has major damage that requires repairs.
    The couple also said they have not worked since they were released from jail. They said they are still trying to get their security clearance reinstated, and that they are running out of money.
    Harvey said what is especially concerning to him and his wife is the fact that other people may have been victimized by this test.
    “If they did what they did to us, you know — two law abiding citizens, there’s no telling how many mistakes they’ve made.”
    http://kutv.com/news/local/inaccurat...-a-half-months

  • #2
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    How much of their stuff did they seize under civil forfeiture for being drug traffickers?

  • #3
    “If the prosecution is going to move forward, we are going to insist on that it has a lab test or a [toxicology] review is done that will actually confirm that the substance in the field is what the officer believed it to be,” Gill said.
    OK, but how many innocent people take a plea deal because they think they're $#@!ed?

  • #4
    Quote Originally Posted by RPM View Post
    How much of their stuff did they seize under civil forfeiture for being drug traffickers?
    Not sure, but that response of the cop, "got myself a new truck", sure says a lot.

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    Look, I am all about the bull$#@! of our drug laws, sloppy lab work, and the insanity of civil asset forfeiture.

    But I have one, really, really big question.

    WHO IN THE HELL drives around with three baggies of "baking soda" in their vehicle? That's, like, a REALLY important question here.

  • #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Look, I am all about the bull$#@! of our drug laws, sloppy lab work, and the insanity of civil asset forfeiture.

    But I have one, really, really big question.

    WHO IN THE HELL drives around with three baggies of "baking soda" in their vehicle? That's, like, a REALLY important question here.
    Ha. Like I'm gonna fall for that, copper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Look, I am all about the bull$#@! of our drug laws, sloppy lab work, and the insanity of civil asset forfeiture.

    But I have one, really, really big question.

    WHO IN THE HELL drives around with three baggies of "baking soda" in their vehicle? That's, like, a REALLY important question here.
    Cops probably planted it

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverMarryAStripper View Post
    Cops probably planted it
    They might have.

    Seriously, I point this out because it's a freaking absurdity. WTF?

  • #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    They might have.

    Seriously, I point this out because it's a freaking absurdity. WTF?
    Well, given that trucker-man said "that's baking soda" according to the article, so the question still stands.

  • #10
    asshat GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Look, I am all about the bull$#@! of our drug laws, sloppy lab work, and the insanity of civil asset forfeiture.

    But I have one, really, really big question.

    WHO IN THE HELL drives around with three baggies of "baking soda" in their vehicle? That's, like, a REALLY important question here.
    There are a lot of uses for baking soda. Especially if you are broke. Its good at whitening teeth, cleaning surfaces and removing stink from small spaces (such as a truck cabin).

    Oh, and it is used for baking. I could see someone going on the road prepping for meals for the week, measuring out ingredients for recipes and storing them in plastic baggies.
    Last edited by GottaB; 11-02-2016 at 05:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GottaB View Post
    There are a lot of uses for baking soda. Especially if you are broke. Its good at whitening teeth, cleaning surfaces and removing stink from small spaces (such as a truck cabin)
    But why transfer it to plastic baggies? Why not just keep it in the original container?

    I mean, I have a couple of these in my pantry right now, they have a pour spout and everything:



    Sorry, when the initial factual premise of the story sounds fishy as hell, the whole story sounds fishy as hell.

    Had they used the bags of baking soda to deliver drugs that they no longer had on them, such that trace amounts could trigger a positive test? Again, I'm no fan of the War on Drugs, but it is still a thing, and you can still be prosecuted for it.

    The baggies of baking soda just doesn't fit here.

  • #12
    Since the baggies were "filled with baking soda" according to the article, it's still a valid question. Where are people on the road going to bake? It doesn't have any odor absorbing properties sealed in a ziploc bag. Why would they need three bags to brush their teeth with? Weird.

  • #13
    asshat GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB's Avatar
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    The boxes aren't real secure once opened. The cab moves a lot so I could imagine, they want to limit spills should the road get rocky.

    If used for cooking, I was thinking they might have a small oven in their cab. They have the equipment, but perhaps they don't measure things out in the cab because it makes a mess or they run out of stuff. If they measured it out at home and packed it with their other ingredients, this could be a way make sure their meals will go on as planned. I dunno. Just guessing.

    It would be funny if there was also a bag of "oregano" right next to it.

  • #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GottaB View Post
    The boxes aren't real secure once opened. The cab moves a lot so I could imagine, they want to limit spills should the road get rocky.

    If used for cooking, I was thinking they might have a small oven in their cab. They have the equipment, but perhaps they don't measure things out in the cab because it makes a mess or they run out of stuff. If they measured it out at home and packed it with their other ingredients, this could be a way make sure their meals will go on as planned. I dunno. Just guessing.

    It would be funny if there was also a bag of "oregano" right next to it.
    Gotta admit, I am unfamiliar with what's available in tractor-trailer cabs these days. I guess an oven wouldn't surprise me. And I suppose they could have had them open for odor removal. But there are boxes of baking soda made for that application that have a porous scrim over the opening.

    And LMAO at the oregano.

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    Lol at the idea that you can't distinguish between coke and baking sofa based on site alone in most cases.

  • #16
    It's a funny question to ask, but the point remains it was just baking soda and they were falsely imprisoned over it.

  • #17
    asshat GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? GottaB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotsError View Post
    It's a funny question to ask, but the point remains it was just baking soda and they were falsely imprisoned over it.
    Yeah. We all agree on that. It sucks. Can't believe it was ever employed as a tactic.

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    Seems like the manufacturer of this bull$#@! test could be the subject of some mighty hefty lawsuits. No?

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    Maybe the get a lot of upset stomachs. I imagine their diet isn't great.

  • #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    But why transfer it to plastic baggies? Why not just keep it in the original container?

    I mean, I have a couple of these in my pantry right now, they have a pour spout and everything:



    Sorry, when the initial factual premise of the story sounds fishy as hell, the whole story sounds fishy as hell.

    Had they used the bags of baking soda to deliver drugs that they no longer had on them, such that trace amounts could trigger a positive test? Again, I'm no fan of the War on Drugs, but it is still a thing, and you can still be prosecuted for it.

    The baggies of baking soda just doesn't fit here.
    They don't have a pour spout (like Mortons salt); they have a perforated edge that opens and never seals again. Once open, if you knock it over, you're going to spill it. If I had a need for baking soda in my vehicle, I sure as hell wouldn't keep it in an open container like this; I'd keep it in a sealed container, like a plastic bag.

  • #21
    asshat hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hopkinsnhorns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SideSlip View Post
    Seems like the manufacturer of this bull$#@! test could be the subject of some mighty hefty lawsuits. No?
    That was my thought. If I designed homes that failed on a 20+% average, I'd probably be in prison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    But why transfer it to plastic baggies? Why not just keep it in the original container?

    I mean, I have a couple of these in my pantry right now, they have a pour spout and everything:



    Sorry.....

    ....because that's where they keep their cocaine.

  • #23
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    maybe they were gonna make a sweet volcano for a science project.

    or maybe make some crack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Gotta admit, I am unfamiliar with what's available in tractor-trailer cabs these days. I guess an oven wouldn't surprise me. And I suppose they could have had them open for odor removal. But there are boxes of baking soda made for that application that have a porous scrim over the opening.

    And LMAO at the oregano.
    The sleeper tractors they have these days are loaded. Think of a small camper in the back of the cab.

  • #25
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    You can, carefully, use it with vinegar to clean. try just vinegar first. then if it is a solid surface you can get some good chemical reaction, read/watch about it before trying it, to clean tough stuff.(or unclog drains)

    Baking soda is the $#@!.

  • #26
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    The baking soda in baggies doesn't make much sense. Maybe they were planning to sell it as the real thing?

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    Probably had it to Polish the chrome on his truck.


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    These babies don't polish themselves, man!


  • #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Had they used the bags of baking soda to deliver drugs that they no longer had on them, such that trace amounts could trigger a positive test?
    I've got this empty baggie that used to have cocaine in it. The way I see it, I've got 2 options:

    1. Throw it in the trash at the truck stop.
    2. Fill it with baking soda, keep it with me, and drive it across the country and hope that if I get caught with it and they test it, the test doesn't pick up any of the cocaine residue in the bag.

    I gotta tell you, number 2 seems a hell of a lot more sensible and definitely easier.

  • #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by heso View Post
    I've got this empty baggie that used to have cocaine in it. The way I see it, I've got 2 options:

    1. Throw it in the trash at the truck stop.
    2. Fill it with baking soda, keep it with me, and drive it across the country and hope that if I get caught with it and they test it, the test doesn't pick up any of the cocaine residue in the bag.

    I gotta tell you, number 2 seems a hell of a lot more sensible and definitely easier.
    Nope, not the scenario I suggested. It's not that they would "re-use" the bag. It's that the bag of narcotics would be stashed/hidden IN the bag full of baking soda. Plenty of folks have stashed drug bags inside a container of something else to throw off the drug dogs. Once you sell the bag of coke, you still have the bag of baking soda. Dumb not to ditch it, but folks do dumb things. All the time.

    I'm just using some Sesame Street reasoning here -- one of these things just doesn't belong. Baggies full of baking soda just don't fall in the realm of "what you would expect to see" in a vehicle. I'd also look a bit deeper at a guy carrying around an empty 50 gallon drum, bottles of acid, and a set of bone saws. Some things just raise an eyebrow. That's actually what decent police work is supposed to do -- spot something odd and out of place, and investigate.

  • #31
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    this is my problem. so this couple is eventually exonerated. they were proven guilty of nothing at all.

    what did we get out of imprisoning them for 2.5 months awaiting trial? because they are too poor to afford bond?

    i guess i have a major problem holding innocent people in jail because they cannot afford bond. that's just so wrong to me.

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Nope, not the scenario I suggested. It's not that they would "re-use" the bag. It's that the bag of narcotics would be stashed/hidden IN the bag full of baking soda. Plenty of folks have stashed drug bags inside a container of something else to throw off the drug dogs. Once you sell the bag of coke, you still have the bag of baking soda. Dumb not to ditch it, but folks do dumb things. All the time.
    Yea that makes a lot more sense than what I thought you were suggesting.

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayden_horn View Post
    this is my problem. so this couple is eventually exonerated. they were proven guilty of nothing at all.

    what did we get out of imprisoning them for 2.5 months awaiting trial? because they are too poor to afford bond?

    i guess i have a major problem holding innocent people in jail because they cannot afford bond. that's just so wrong to me.
    True, but my real problem is law enforcement being able to seize your $#@! without anything more than suspicion.

  • #34
    Who came up with the law to let them do that in the first place?

  • #35
    They got pulled over for one simple reason.

    DWB.

    Driving while Baking.

  • #36
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    Yay! The war on drugs! I feel soo much safer now! I am just so glad these brave heroes for once thought of the children and arrested these dope dealers.

  • #37
    Here's what pisses me off about this, besides everything. You have a field drug test that is known for creating false positives. Fine, they need something. But why wouldn't the first order of business be to routinely test everything that it finds to be positive ASAP. They still get arrested, but they are out in a day or 2, and much hassle and expense is avoided by everyone, including the taxpayers who housed two people for 2 1/2 months. This is a great illustration of why we are going to hate our government run health care. The government is just incapable of common sense and efficiency.
    Last edited by JMHammer; 11-05-2016 at 06:22 PM.

  • #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brisketexan View Post
    Nope, not the scenario I suggested. It's not that they would "re-use" the bag. It's that the bag of narcotics would be stashed/hidden IN the bag full of baking soda. Plenty of folks have stashed drug bags inside a container of something else to throw off the drug dogs. Once you sell the bag of coke, you still have the bag of baking soda. Dumb not to ditch it, but folks do dumb things. All the time.

    I'm just using some Sesame Street reasoning here -- one of these things just doesn't belong. Baggies full of baking soda just don't fall in the realm of "what you would expect to see" in a vehicle. I'd also look a bit deeper at a guy carrying around an empty 50 gallon drum, bottles of acid, and a set of bone saws. Some things just raise an eyebrow. That's actually what decent police work is supposed to do -- spot something odd and out of place, and investigate.
    Doesn't make much sense. Why would you use a substance like baking soda which resembles an actual drug as a cover? Why not bags of ground coffee?

  • #39
    Quote Originally Posted by thunderlounge View Post
    True, but my real problem is law enforcement being able to seize your $#@! without anything more than wanting it.
    Fixed that one for you.

  • #40
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    http://www.click2houston.com/news/de...m=kprc_1200cst

    cool fake drug test in Harris County

  • #41
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    Wait, all charges were dropped? So he got out of the marijuana charge? That's pretty cool.

    Also means MJ users should always carry a sock full of meth in their car so if they get pulled over and busted for the pot they can just loudly say "BUT THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT METH IN THAT SOCK, OFFICER SO THERE'S NO NEED TO TEST IT."

  • #42
    asshat Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Francisco Scaramonga's Avatar
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    Baking soda used on battery terminals? Also it is used to remove diesel smell from clothing.

    Other than that, I'm grasping at straws on why they would need it.

  • #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huckleberry View Post
    Wait, all charges were dropped? So he got out of the marijuana charge? That's pretty cool.

    Also means MJ users should always carry a sock full of meth in their car so if they get pulled over and busted for the pot they can just loudly say "BUT THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT METH IN THAT SOCK, OFFICER SO THERE'S NO NEED TO TEST IT."
    Well, he did spend three days in jail for that weed. I think it worked itself out on that deal. I don't get why people ever admit to having anything. Make them establish probable cause to search. They are going to treat you the same either way. If I had been honest with law enforcement every time I got pulled over as a youth, I would have spent days in county. Can I search your vehicle? No sir.

  • #44
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    I'm just stunned we allow the police to use a test that finds cat litter = meth as probable cause. and it did it twice. what a freakin' joke.

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