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He Brought Honey From Jamaica, Spent 82 Days in Jail

Lawsuit coming in case of Maryland's Leon Haughton
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2019 10:21 AM CDT
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It's really truly honey.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – "They put me through hell." So says a legal permanent resident of Maryland jailed for 82 days after a false-positive test indicated there was liquid meth in three bottles of honey he brought back from his native Jamaica. Leon Haughton initially thought canines at Baltimore's airport detected the KFC chicken in his luggage on Dec. 29. But soon Customs and Border Protection agents "said I was charged with methamphetamine," Haughton tells WJLA. "I said 'what is methamphetamine?'" An in-state lab test found no drugs in the honey roughly three weeks later and the felony charges were dropped. But the Washington Post reports that his original airport arrest for drug felonies as a green-card holder triggered an immigration detainer. A judge said he couldn't be released unless the detainer was lifted. His lawyer said he couldn't reach anyone at ICE.

And so Haughton spent two more months jailed until an additional federal lab test echoed those results and the misdemeanor was dropped too. When he was finally freed in March, the father of six had lost jobs as a cleaner and construction worker. "All my insurances collapsed, my credit was destroyed," the 46-year-old now living at a Days Inn tells WJLA. "They just left me a mess" and never apologized. The Anne Arundel County Prosecutor's Office says no error occurred. "A specially trained drug sniffing dog was alerted to the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and a preliminary test done by the police officers further tested positive," the office says, per CNN. Haughton's attorney says lawsuits are "imminent." As Haughton tells the Post, "I'm scared to even travel right now." (Read more Customs and Border Protection stories.)

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