A husband and wife spent two months in jail all because of false drug test. Gale Griffin and her husband Wendell Harvey, are truck drivers who have top secret security clearances, because they transport explosives for the military.
But earlier this year, they were stopped on Arkansas during a traffic stop.
“We have no relationship with anyone who deals drugs,” said Harvey, who is a former police officer.
The police then found a substance, but Harvey told them it was baking soda.
“I told them, ‘That’s baking soda,’” Harvey said.
The police then tested the substance.
“We tested it three different times,” said Chuck Bowen with Fort Chaffee Police. “We got a positive conclusion each time we tested.”
“He said, ‘You have over $3,000 in cocaine,’” Griffin said.
“I told him, ‘I’ve never had two nickels to rub together, are you crazy?'” Griffin said. “Then [the police officer] said, ‘I’ve never had two nickels to rub together either, but now I’m the owner of your truck.”
The couple’s vehicle was confiscated and they were put behind bars, where they stayed for ten weeks, unable to make their $10,000 bail.
The pair said that the jail was horrendous, ‘crawling’ with bugs and with cold air blasting continually. Griffin said the experience was ‘enough to make you crazy.’
“For the first three or four weeks, I just shivered. I didn’t have any socks,” Griffin said. ‘There were lots of threats and intimidation.”
Eventually, the state of Arkansas tested the substance at the insistence of the Arkansas Public Defender’s office. All the test came back negative, meaning the white powdery substance was not cocaine.
Fortunately, Harvey and Griffin were released from jail. Unfortunately, they have been unable to work since the incident because they say their truck suffered major damage while being held by Arkansas authorities and their security clearance was pulled and not yet reinstated.
But this wasn’t an isolated incident, according to Las Vegas officials, drug testing kits used by police are often incorrect, but no one seems to want to do anything about the $2 kits.
“They are not infallible; they are subject to misreading,” said Greg Parrish with the Arkansas Public Defender’s Office.