US Customs mistakes honey for meth, man spends 82 days in jail

(WJLA/CNN) - A father of six says he lost two jobs, has ruined credit and doesn't have insurance because U.S. Customs and Border Protection thought the honey he was bringing back from Jamaica was meth.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mistakenly identified Leon Haughton's honey as methamphetamine. He spent nearly three months in jail because of the mistake. (Source: WJLA via CNN)

"They said I was charged with methamphetamine, so I said, 'What is methamphetamine?'" Leon Haughton said.

Haughton was on his way into Maryland after returning from a trip home to Jamaica with three bottles of honey in his luggage.

Police dogs started sniffing his suitcase at Baltimore Washington Airport and he thought they just smelled the KFC he had leftover in his bags.

He was shocked when CBP seized his bottles of honey instead.

"I saw them come and handcuff me and take me away from my suitcase, so I said, 'What's your problem?'" Haughton said.

CBP says the honey tested positive for methamphetamine. At the time, they believed the drug was liquified and placed in the honey.

That one test landed Haughton in jail for 82 days starting on Dec. 30, 2018.

"When they [were] ready to release me, they said ICE had a hold on me," Haughton said.

Confusion over his immigration status as a green card holder made it more difficult.

A Georgia lab performed a second test on the honey and found there were no drugs present. Eventually, all the charges against Haughton were dropped.

But that didn't mean the end of his troubles.

"My kids were stressed out, my mom, everybody. They put me through hell. Once I came out, all my insurances collapsed, my credit was destroyed, I lost my job, everything. They just left me a mess," Haughton said.

Now, he's living at a Days Inn, struggling to make ends meet for his family after he sat in jail for nearly three months.

When asked who was responsible for the mistake, the state's attorney's office said none of the agencies made any errors.

Haughton says everyone involved is responsible, and he's scared to travel again.

Copyright 2019 WJLA via CNN. All rights reserved.


The bottles of honey that U.S. Customs and Border Protection mistakenly identified as methamphetamine. (Source: WJLA via CNN)


 
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