A Georgia woman who spent nearly three agonizing months in jail for having a bag of cotton candy that Monroe County sheriff’s deputies mistook for crystal meth is suing the county and a drug kit manufacturer in federal court.
On New Year’s Eve in 2016, Monroe County sheriff’s deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson stopped Macon resident Dasha Fincher for having car windows that were darkly tinted. The deputies later admitted the windows were legal, according to Macon’s WMAZ Channel 13.
But at some point during the traffic stop the deputies noticed a large open plastic bag in Ms. Fincher’s vehicle and asked her what it was. When she told them it was cotton candy, they didn’t believe her.
The deputies sampled the cotton candy with a notoriously unreliable Nark II field test for drugs. The roadside test indicated that the cotton candy was methamphetamine, and the situation went from bad to worse.
Ms. Fincher was arrested and charged with meth trafficking and possession of meth with intent to distribute. A judge set her bail at $1 million. Unable to pay the cash bond, Ms. Fincher was forced to remain in jail until March 2017, when tests from a lab showed that the cotton candy was just that – colored sugar. She was released from jail and the county dropped charges against her four weeks later.
Fighting back tears, Ms. Fincher told WMAZ that she will never get those lost months back. But the worst part of it was being forced to sit in jail and missing out on the birth of her grandsons and other times she should have been with her family, including when her daughter suffered a miscarriage.
Ms. Fincher filed a lawsuit against the county; Sirchie Acquisitions, the North Carolina company that made the drug test; and deputies Maples and Henderson.
Her lawsuit argues that the cotton candy’s blue food coloring likely would have caused a false positive test result for meth. The complaint also argues that deputies Maples and Henderson were not trained in identifying street drugs or in performing the Nark II drug detection field test.
According to a FOX 5 Atlanta investigation, the drug field tests produced 145 false positives in Georgia in just one year’s time, sending many innocent people to jail.
In just one year, they produced 145 false positives in Georgia, sending innocent people to jail, according to FOX 5.