A Maryland man is struggling to put his life back together after spending 82 days in jail to bring honey into the U.S from jamaica and now he is speaking out about it.
Leon Haughton said he has lost both of his jobs, doesn’t have insurance and his credit has taken a hit after U.S Customs and Border Protection thought the bottles of honey he had were laced with liquid meth.
The father of six says the situation has been hard on him and his family.
“They messed up my life,” told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “I want to world to know that the system is not right. If I didn’t have strong people around me, they would probably leave me in jail. Your lost in the system”
Haughton had just landed at Baltimore’s Washington Airport following a Christmas visit to relatives in Jamaica last year. He soon found himself in the custody of CBP officials, who detained him after they claimed he was trying to smuggle in not honey, but drugs.
Haughton fainted at the news and had to be hospitalized after repeatedly insisting to agents that “I only have honey.” He was then carted off to jail where he would remain for 82 days, starting Dec. 30, 2018.
“Someone dropped the ball somewhere,” said Terry Morris, Haughton’s attorney. “An innocent man spent 82 days in jail for bringing honey into the United States.”
According to The Washington Post, the Maryland man’s arrest an airport on alleged felony charges resulted in a federal detention order that extended his stay behind bars. Haughton’s status as a green card holder also made his case that much more difficult.
Morris suspects his client was targeted because of his race and noted how CPB questioned Haughton about “a big Jamaican gang and drug dealing conspiracy” after they accused him of trying to bring in meth.
Less than a month after his arrest, a state police lab test looking for drugs in the honey came back negative, according to the newspaper. Still, Haughton sat behind bars for two more months before the last of the charges against were dismissed after a second lab test, this one federal, also came back clean.
“My kids were stressed out, my mom, everybody,” he told local station WJLA. “They put me through hell. Once I came out, all of my insurances collapsed, my credit was destroyed, I lost my job, everything. They just left me a mess.”