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Couple Does A Month In Jail For Possessing Cocaine That Turned Out To Be Soap

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soapBy Daphne R

Charges have been dropped against a New York man and woman who spent one month in jail over an arrest for possession of two kilograms of cocaine. Test now show that the cocaine as actually soap. The couple had been pulled over and arrested on November 13 by a state trooper in Pennsylvania after they were seen driving 5 miles over the speed limit and hugging the side of the lane on Interstate 78.

The officer claimed he smelled marijuana and Annadel Cruz, the 26 year old driver, admitted she had been smoking pot prior to leaving New York City. She then agreed to a search of her vehicle, a new Mercedes –Benz. During the search, the officer found two brick-sized packages covered in plastic wrap and red tape inside a bag in the trunk.

Cruz told the officer that the packages contained soap but during the officer’s field test they tested positive for cocaine. Cruz was then arrested along with a passenger that was traveling with her, 30 year old Alexander Bernstein.

Additionally, officers found a small amount of marijuana in Ms. Cruz’s bra. She and Bernstein were charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Cruz was also charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, speeding and disregarding traffic lanes.

After appearing before District Judge Jacob Hammond, they were both sent to jail. Cruz was given $250,000 bail while Bernstein’s bail was set at $500,000. They both spent one month in jail until results from the police lab showed there was no cocaine in the packages that were confiscated from the Mercedes, only soap.

Attorneys for the couple are saying their clients were victims of racial profiling and a bungled field test.

Bernstein’s attorney is quoted as saying, “I think it is a nice car with out-of-state plates and a Hispanic female behind the wheel” that prompted the traffic stop. “If it was me driving that car, this wouldn’t have happened.” He questions whether the field test was even conducted by the officer or whether he lied about the results or improperly performed the test.

Cruz’s attorney says he questions any field test conducted by police, “After this, everyone should pause about jumping to conclusions when a field test is said to be positive by law enforcement. There are people going to jail on high bail amounts based upon these field tests.”

“A young man spent a month in jail, spent a substantial amount of money to get out of jail and missed Thanksgiving with his 17-month-old son,” Bernstein’s attorney, Josh Karoly said. “To do that on a field test, we better be darn sure that these field tests are accurate.”

Bernstein had actually posted bail on Tuesday, one day before prosecutors informed him that they were dropping the charges, and Cruz was released from custody on Wednesday.

Cruz’s attorney, Robert Goldman, says his client was upset about being identified in national news reports as a drug dealer and incarcerated with actual criminals when she was only transporting soap. He states that it will take the community college student a long time to get her good name back.

____

Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.

267 Comments

  1. Weslin1

    December 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I’m smh on this one the lady told them it was soap& come to find out it was “soap all the along. Over a month it took them to find out it was just soap. GUESS in this case ( driving while A minority). I just sold my Benz and I thought I face prejudice ( at dealerships with it) but mine pales in comparison with what they faced!!! Sue, sue, sue, racist cops (smh) again. It’s seems like we are stepping back into the 50’s & 60’s again with all this racism going on all over the county especially with in & out of the court system.

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