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Georgia woman jailed over misidentified cotton candy

A Georgia woman has filed a lawsuit against law enforcement and Monroe County officials, contending they improperly arrested and jailed her on drug charges.

According to the filing, two Monroe County officers pulled over a car the woman was riding in on Dec. 31, 2016, suspecting that the tinted windows were too dark. After inspecting the car, the officers determined the amount of window tint was within legal limits but still searched the inside of the car.

They found a clear plastic bag, and the officers apparently thought the contents were drugs. The woman told police that the light blue substance was cotton candy.

A drug test showed instead that the substance was methamphetamine. The woman was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and drug possession with intent to distribute. Unable to pay the $1 million cash bond set by the court, she was jailed for three months until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tested the contents of the bag and found it was just what the woman said it was: cotton candy.

According to the lawsuit, the methamphetamine field test kit "has a history of producing false positive results."

The lawsuit contends the woman's constitutional rights were violated and also says that while she was incarcerated, the woman missed significant family events, such as the birth of her twin grandsons, and was unable to receive proper treatment for medical issues she faced. She is seeking monetary damages and various court costs, and she also is seeking a jury trial.

Police officers have difficult jobs, and sometimes errors are made. However, reports indicate that the officers "extensively" searched the interior of the vehicle, which indicates the stop over the tinted windows may have merely been a pretext for an unwarranted search. Perhaps they found something that looked like drugs to them simply because they were determined to find them.

You have a right to a vigorous defense if you've been charged with drug crimes. An experienced attorney can defend your rights and protect you from abuses of power.

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