Pair Spends Month in Jail for Having Bag of ... Soap

Lawyer calls it a case of racial profiling

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 16, 2013 7:10 PM CST

(Newser) – Soap and cocaine are easy to confuse ... right? Apparently so: A young man and woman just spent a month in a Pennsylvania jail for carrying two kilos of soap that police mistook for cocaine, reports Reason via The Morning Call. A trooper pulled over Annadel Cruz, 26, and Alexander Bernstein, 30, last month for driving 5mph over the limit in a new Mercedes and hugging the side of the lane. When the officer smelled marijuana, Cruz admitted to smoking some before their trip from Florida to New York. That's when the trooper searched the car and found the two bricks.

Cruz said it was homemade soap, but the officer's field test apparently came up positive. That's when the month-long nightmare began. "I think it is a nice car with out-of-state plates and a Hispanic female behind the wheel" that led to the traffic stop, said Bernstein's lawyer. "If it was me driving that car, this wouldn't have happened." Bernstein, who has a 17-month-old son, even had his bail posted—the day before he was released. "To do that on a field test, we better be darn sure that these field tests are accurate." No word yet from the police, but Reason calls drug field tests "notoriously unreliable," often "mistaking common products ... for illicit substances."

  (Shutterstock)
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