Woman Spends Months In Jail After Lab Finds Meth In Car. It Was Actually Cotton Candy.
Cotton candy lovers beware: Given the right circumstances, apparently your favorite fluffy sugar treat can test positive for… meth?
A Georgia woman is suing after spending months in jail for just this set of circumstances.
Dasha Fincher was pulled over on New Year’s Eve 2016 for her tinted windows — which the officers later admitted were perfectly legal. Fincher said Monroe deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson noticed an open plastic bag in her car and assumed the worst, even though she told them it was just blue cotton candy.
Side note: For you “Breaking Bad” fans out there (maybe the cops were fans, too?) but blue meth isn’t actually a real thing. As close to pure as Walter White made his famous meth, the impurities would actually give it a yellow tinge.
But having a blue substance in a clear plastic bag still gave off alarm bells, so the deputies tested the bag with a roadside field test. They claimed the bag tested positive for methamphetamine, and Fincher was “arrested and charged with meth trafficking and possession [of] meth with intent to distribute,” according to Macon, Geogia, CBS affiliate 13WMAZ. Her bond was set at $1 million, and she spent months in jail because she couldn’t pay the cash bond.
Finally, in March 2017, a more comprehensive lab test came back and determined that the substance was not an illegal drug. Another four weeks passed before the charges against Fincher were dropped.
Fincher is now suing Monroe County, Georgia, the deputies who administered the original test, and the manufacturer of that test.
“Fincher's lawsuit argues that the Monroe County Sheriff's Office was reckless and negligent and violated her civil rights,” 13WMAZ reported. “The suit said the test was manufactured by Sirchie Acquisitions, a company based in North Carolina. The test, called Nark II, has a history of false positive test results, the suit says.”
“Blue food coloring used in the cotton candy would likely cause a false positive test result, the suit argues,” 13WMAZ added.
The lawsuit also says the two deputies who pulled Fincher over were not trained to identify street drugs or perform the roadside test, which led to the false positive.
Fincher is seeking damages from the county, the officers, and Sirchie Acquisitions.
It was already widely known that poppy seeds (like those found on a bagel) could trigger a false positive for opiates, but Fincher's case represents a whole new fear for people who don't use drugs. Who knows what else could test positive for illegal substances in a poorly administered roadside test?