This Innocent Man’s Life Is In Ruins After Police Jailed Him For Smuggling Meth, Turns Out It Was Just Honey
All too often travel can be a very stressful experience. There’s the whole act of flying itself which for many is downright terrifying. Then you’re either rushing and still end up late or having to waste a couple of hours in an airport trying not to blow all your cash on an $8 bottle of water. Factor in traffic to and from the airport and having to pack and wait in line after line – yea, traveling can kind of suck sometimes.
But for one Maryland man, his last trip was at a whole other level of stressful and it turned into three months of absolute chaos.
You see, on his return trip from Jamaica he was accused of flying with liquid meth.
Leon Haughton, who has lived in Maryland for 10 years, had gone back to visit his family in Jamaica over Christmas.
The 45-year-old had bought three bottles of honey from his favorite roadside stand to bring back with him.
His long ordeal started on December 29 when he landed back at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and customs agents had a dog sniff his bags. He assumed the dogs had sniffed the KFC chicken he had in his bag but was surprised when agents seized the three bottles of honey he uses to sweeten his tea.
The agents told him they suspected him of transporting liquid methamphetamine.
‘I’m 100 percent sure I don’t have drugs. I only have honey,’ Haughton recalls telling the agents, according to the Washington Post. He fainted after they placed him in detention and he was taken to jail.
While the authorities waited for test results, Haughton languished in jail for 82 days.
Haughton and his attorney Terry Morris believe he was stereotyped because of his race. They said he was questioned while in custody about a ‘big Jamaican gang and drug dealing conspiracy’.
The laboratory results from Maryland took more than two weeks to arrive and they came back negative. Authorities then sent the bottles to a second laboratory in Georgia after the first was judged to be insufficiently equipped to analyze the liquids.
Although he had a green card granting him legal residence in the U.S., Haughton’s arrest set in motion a detention process with immigration. Since Houghton is not a U.S. citizen, the arrest put him at risk of being deported – not to mention the stress his family endured as they waited for his release.
The tests in Georgia, meanwhile, finally confirmed that Haughton was indeed transporting honey. The charges were dropped and he was freed on March 21 after 82 days in custody.
Call me naive but I didn’t even know liquid meth was a thing.
According to officials, liquid meth is a fairly new form of methamphetamine. Meth will be liquified and placed into familiar bottles (usually just for easier transport) and then the liquid will be boiled away leaving pure meth for the user.
For Houghton, this whole ordeal has cost him his livelihood.
Unable to work for three months and far from his six children, Haughton lost his two jobs as a cleaner and construction worker.
‘They messed up my life,’ he said. ‘I want the world to know that the system is not right. If I didn’t have strong people around me, they would probably leave me in jail. You’re lost in the system.’
‘I’m scared to even travel right now. You’re innocent, and you can end up in jail.’
OK, so the cops totally got this wrong but there actually have been cases of people smuggling in liquid meth.
Just this past May, a Border Patrol agent and his canine partner assigned to the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol Station seized approximately 118 pounds of liquid methamphetamine, worth almost four million dollars. The drugs were loaded into plastic bottles and transported over the border.
Meanwhile in Australia, smugglers are trying to sneak in liquid meth inside of snow globes.
I mean we obviously don’t condone trafficking in drugs, but I will say that’s a very creative method.
But many on Twitter were shocked at the apparent mismanagement of the entire situation.
Eventually, the charges were dropped, though officials have yet to apologize to Houghton for leaving his life in ruins. He has since lost his job as a cleaner and watched his credit score dramatically decrease due to the bills that piled up. Friends have even cut off contact.
“My kids are stressed out, my mom. Everybody was stressed out over everything. It’s a lot of stuff I’m going through,” he said. “Nobody contacted me. Nobody tell me sorry, nobody do nothing.”
Customs and Border Protection officials simply told NBC Washington that they are “reviewing procedures” while providing no information. Houghton still has not been issued an apology despite his story prompting massive outrage on social media.
With one Twitter user, @boerneman, saying “It should have never taken 82 days to do the second test to confirm what the substance was. He should file a federal civil rights lawsuit against all involved. This is a prime example of incompetence and mismanagement.”
“He lost his 2 jobs. There’s No compensation for losing his jobs, jailed for 82 days … for NOTHING. The 3 bottles were indeed HONEY never Liquid Meth. The man got his credit messed up. It Never takes 82 freaking days to get Honey tested. The miscarriage of Justice against POC,” said another user.
Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org