Annadel Cruz, 26, and her companion Alexander Berstein, 30, spent an entire month in prison on cocaine trafficking charges after a state trooper in Pennsylvania pulled them over for traffic violations and found two "bricks" of a white substance they determined was cocaine.
Cruz maintained it was only homemade soap, not cocaine. When the official lab tests came back, officers realized a big mistake had been made. All charges were immediately dropped when it was determined the substance was, indeed, soap.
When a state trooper pulled Cruz over, he claimed he smelled marijuana in the car. Cruz actually admitted that she had smoked some weed before she left New York City, but not while she was driving. The trooper then asked if he could search the car, a request Cruz granted.
WPTV reports that the officer discovered "more than 4 pounds of a white powdery substance wrapped in tape in a factory compartment on a side wall of the car." Cruz immediately claimed it was soap that she had personally made, but the police claimed it tested positive for cocaine. When officers searched Cruz's body, they also reportedly found a small amount of marijuana in her bra.
Cruz and Bernstein were booked into Lehigh County Prison on cocaine trafficking charges. They would remain in prison for the next month while officials tested the soap. Bernstein was held on $500,000 bail and Cruz on $250,000 bail.
They were released and the charges were dropped when the mistake was realized.
Now both of them have lawyered up and are considering legal action.
Josh Karoly, Bernstein’s lawyer, even insinuated that racial profiling may have occurred.
“I think it is a nice car with out-of-state plates and a Hispanic female behind the wheel," he said. "If it was me driving that car, this wouldn’t have happened."
Cruz’s attorney, Robert Goldman, cautioned against "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," he added.