Channel 19

Todd Dills

If you’re carrying baking soda on the truck …

| November 28, 2016

You might do well to keep it in the original container, if only to avoid it initially being mistaken for something illicit. If you get past that initial perception stage with a law enforcement officer, the baking soda may well test positive for cocaine …

This is not a bag of cocaine.

This is not a bag of cocaine.

Apparently, law enforcement around the country are using a very cheap ($2, reportedly) quick-ID kit to test substances for narcotics. The recent case of a military-haul team at Fort Chaffee, Ark., well illustrates the kit’s apparent penchant for false-positives. According to this story on KATV, truckers Gale Griffin and Wendell Harvey (a former police officer in Fort Wayne, Ind., himself) were pulled in for a routine inspection at the gates into Fort Chaffee, when personnel identified bags of white powder they suspected for cocaine. Turned out it was just baking soda, which Griffin buys in bulk given she uses the versatile substance “for everything,” she told the reporters.

Nonetheless, the quick-ID kits showed it tested positive for cocaine — multiple times. Griffin and Harvey then spent the better part of the summer (two months in total) in jail, losing their truck, their work and making for a difficult bounceback when, finally, more extensive tests were done and they were released. It took another couple months to get their truck back from Arkansas impound, too.

KATV’s broadcast follows, a false-positive cautionary tale truckers would do well to heed — any officers in the audience, too.

As KATV’s attendant story notes, it’s not just baking soda delivering false positives, either:

Around the country there have been instances of candy confused for meth, vitamins identified as amphetamines, and tortilla flour testing positive as cocaine. In Florida, the Department of Law Enforcement Lab Systems found 21 percent of the substances that tested positive for meth in the field gave a negative result in the crime lab.

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11 comments
jamesd04
jamesd04

also I'm wondering why we have to sign in and create an account to post comments on these story's ,never used to have to,just a thought

jamesd04
jamesd04

I'm finding this story hard to believe ,2 months in jail. for baking soda ,something just didn't pass the smell test on this one,ill bet there's more to this than was reported

Gordon A
Gordon A

If that happened to me . When I was released  after they finally admitted being wrong I would file a $5 or $10 million dollar  class action law suit against the officer or officers involved and their dept on behalf of every truck driver that has been improperly cited and or  incarcerated. It would cost them more to fight it than  to settle out of court. 


I am sure we have not heard the last of this  nightmare by cop......

DanLeidal
DanLeidal

I use baking soda to absorb odors because I am allergic to most fresheners... I use it in the boxes though... An incompetent cop may still test it and find it to be cocaine... The bad part for law enforcement is that these folks will receive a big payday if they file a suit... It is legally the responsibility of the law enforcement agency involved to get this right!!! If there is any doubt, the substance should have been tested in a legitimate lab immediately... This is negligence for law enforcement to have failed to test their methods extensively before deploying these tests!!!


Tdktrans
Tdktrans

I heard that Hittman transport had a driver O/O jailed on a report from a new rent a cop at a nuclear power station inspection for having a pencil torch and a steel spoon, they cut him loose though, or so I was told. Second hand info.

feews
feews


just as Lori implied I'm in shock that a stay at home mom can earn $8303 

in one month on the internet .

see more...................................................



www.heavy-pay.com

Norman Ott
Norman Ott

Anyone that was involved in the in this miscarriage of justice should be fired and should pay for their incompetence.

Norman Ott
Norman Ott

Another case of enforcement gone bad. Stupid bald headed cop playing Mr. Big.  Anyone with half  a brain stem can tell coke from baking soda. Enforcement is out of  control. When I'm on the road I worry more about being harassed by enforcement than criminals. Shaved heads and tattoos, cops look more like crooks than cops.

buzzbait
buzzbait

I am stunned. Where is the justice? Why are we so stereotyped as drivers? These hard working people have lost income for two months and getting back on their feet is going to take forever. I know we could not weather this storm. Unbelievable!

Steel hauler
Steel hauler

I use baking soda in my coffee to reduce the acid, just a pinch it works. Better lose the baggie though! Too bad in this day and age when we send a man to the moon, but can't tell the difference between baking soda and cocaine and innocent people are persecuted!

Mind Games
Mind Games

I was just saying I needed to buy some for odor control in my cooler! Thanks OD for the heads up!