She was roundly mocked online after telling a state trooper that two "bricks" in the back of her car contained homemade soap not cocaine, but it was no laughing matter for Annadel Cruz and her companion Alexander Bernstein who spent the past month in jail despite telling the truth.
Cruz, 26, was pulled over in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, on November 13th for going five miles over the speed limit down Interstate 78.
The unidentified state trooper asked Cruz if he could search the vehicle after smelling pot in the car.
Cruz acknowledged smoking a joint before leaving New York City, and allowed her vehicle to be searched.
It was in the trunk where the trooper discovered two "bricks" wrapped in clear plastic and sealed with red tape.
The trooper allegedly performed a field test on the packages and concluded they were two-pound bricks of cocaine on their way to be sold.
Cruz assured the trooper she was only transporting homemade soap, but after investigators found a small amount of marijuana hidden in her bra, both she and Bernstein, 30, were charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of cocaine, conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Adding insult to insult, Cruz was also slapped with a marijuana possession charge and two traffic violations.
They were placed behind bars and assigned inflated bails: Cruz, $250,000; Bernstein, $500,000.
Bernstein finally managed to bail last week yesterday — one day before the charges against both him and Cruz were completely dropped.
A state police lab finally confirmed on Wednesday what Cruz and Bernstein knew all along: The bricks were full of soap.
Not willing to let the state wash its hands of the incident, the two have since hired attorneys who have called into question the entire process leading up to their arrest.
"I think it is a nice car with out-of-state plates and a Hispanic female behind the wheel" which led to the stop, Bernstein's lawyer Josh Karoly told The Morning Call. "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."
Karoly is not so sure the trooper even performed a field test as he claimed.
Cruz's attorney, Robert Goldman, echoed Karoly's remarks.
"After this, everyone should pause about jumping to conclusions when a field test is said to be positive by law enforcement," he said. "There are people going to jail on high bail amounts based upon these field tests."
Goldman said his client, a community college student with a spotless record before last month's arrest, was upset about the rush to judgement she encountered on the web and beyond.
"It's going to take her a good deal of time to get her good name back," he said.
[photo via Shutterstock]