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By Alex Johnson and Ali Gostanian
A woman sues Monroe County, Georgia, and a North Carolina company after a popular roadside drug testing test at law enforcement agencies, falsely identified his cotton candy as being methamphetamine.
The woman, Dasha Fincher, of Monroe County, claims, among many other complaints, unspecified damages alleging mendacious and malicious arrest and imprisonment during the 2016 New Year incident.
The complaint, which was filed November 15 before the US District Court in Macon, claims that because she could not pay a $ 1 million bail for trafficking and possession of methamphetamine, Fincher was illegally imprisoned for more than three months early 2017 before a state laboratory test found the false positive.
The charges were dropped in April 2017.
The lawsuit says that Fincher was a passenger in the car when it was stopped on December 31, 2016. Monroe County Sheriff's deputies reportedly intercepted the car because it had tinted windows and was suspicious of the bag. of cotton candy blue. that Fincher was holding.
In the MPs' dashboard camera video provided to NBC News by Fincher's lawyer, James Freeman, we can see the two MPs sniffing the bag as Fincher clasps his hands to his face. The video, which ends with Fincher being handcuffed, includes a commentary subtitled by Freeman.
"I just could not believe it was happening," Fincher said Tuesday in a statement provided by his lawyer. "Being locked up was difficult for me because I was away from my family.
"I was very scared that my granddaughter would forget who I was," she confided. "My twin grandchildren were born and I had to be in the delivery room, my daughter had a miscarriage and I could not comfort her."
According to the prosecution, the field trial was conducted using a NARK II methamphetamine reagent bag manufactured by Sirchie Acquisition Co. of Youngsville, North Carolina. She accuses Sirchie of negligence in the manufacture of NARK II and in the training of its client agencies.
In 2015, the Innocence Project, a branch of the Marshall Project, a criminal justice investigation group, claimed that NARK II was widely recognized for producing false positives. He stated that the NARK II had sometimes confused sage with marijuana, motor oil with heroin, Jolly Ranchers sweets for methamphetamine and breath mints for crack.
A representative of Sirchie said Tuesday that the company had not commented.
None of the other defendants – including the deputies involved in the arrest and the county commissioners' council – had responded to the complaint on Tuesday. Monroe County solicitor Benjamin Vaughn did not respond to a request for comment.
"This is more than a problem in Monroe County, Georgia," Freeman said Tuesday. "These $ 2 drug kits are sold by Sirchie nationwide and presume the guilt of an accused until proven innocent.
"You can arrest a criminal after getting lab results, but you can never give time to an innocent person," he said.