Sunday, June 19, 2011

Carrying Cheese Causes Arrest

Yep. Carrying cheese can get you arrested. And if it is concealed carry? Well I'm sure that would only add to the suspicion.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- An enzyme found in cheese triggered false drug test results that led North Carolina deputies to think a man with 91 pounds of tortilla dough was actually carrying that much cocaine, the sheriff said.

Antonio Hernandez spent four days in an Asheville jail this month before tests by a state lab showed he was carrying food, not drugs.

A Buncombe County deputy stopped Hernandez on May 1 and found what turned out to be a mix of cheese, shrimp and tortilla and tamale dough in his truck. A portable kit used by deputies changed colors, indicating the mixture was illegal drugs.
The field tests are not very accurate. They are accurate enough to keep you in jail for four days though.

My friend Jeralyn at Talk Left has a bit on the subject.
The National Press Club in Washington, DC took on the aspect of a chemistry lab for a short while Tuesday afternoon as scientists and researchers sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project gave a startling demonstration of false positive drug test results obtained using some of the most widely used field testing kits employed by law enforcement to detect the presence of marijuana and other drugs.

As a lab-coated and rubber glove wearing researcher from the South Carolina Center for Biotechnology dumped a sample of oregano into a field test kit, Mintwood Media's Adam Eidinger produced a positive test result for cocaine with another kit simply by exposing it to the atmosphere. "This is just air," Eidinger said, opening up a test and waving it as the reagent turned orange, indicating a positive result.

"While testing the specificity of the KN Reagent test kits with 42 non-marijuana substances, I observed that 70% of these tests rendered a false positive," said Dr. Omar Bagasra, director of the Center for Biotechnology, who conducted the experiments.
The whole arrest deal is supposed to have a basis in probable cause. The standard has now been lowered to improbable cause. The below video is from the Talk Left post.

Here is the report mentioned in the video: False Positives, False Justice [pdf]

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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