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Jailed for 3 Months Over a Jar of Honey

Jailed for 3 Months Over a Jar of Honey
Jennifer Billock

Watch out the next time you travel with honey — you could get arrested for traveling with liquid methamphetamine, especially if you’re going through Baltimore/Washington International Airport where a man was released in March from jail after 82 days for supposedly traveling with a jar of liquid meth.

Just after Christmas, Leon Haughton was heading back home with jars of honey for his family when he was arrested at Baltimore/Washington International Airport for apparently carrying liquid methamphetamine—except all he had was honey.

Haughton was headed back home to Maryland from Jamaica when Customs and Border Patrol searched his bag and tested the honey he was carrying, which turned out positive for liquid meth.

“They said I was charged with methamphetamine, so I said, ‘what is methamphetamine?'” Haughton told CNN.

He was then put in jail for three months while he awaited trial for charges of importing a controlled substance into Maryland, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. But in March, a second lab did a test of the honey. This one, based in Georgia, found no traces at all of meth.

“Once I came out, all my insurances collapsed, my credit was destroyed,” Haughton told CNN. “I lost my job, everything. They just left me a mess.”

The prosecutor’s office, though, maintains there was no error made.

“A specially trained drug sniffing dog was alerted to the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and a preliminary test done by the police officers further tested positive for a controlled dangerous substance,” the office told CNN. “The confirmatory laboratory test showed (there) was no controlled dangerous substance inside the honey.”

View Comments (16)


  1. Icecat

    September 9, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    I suppose being this was a CBP arrest, there is no legal recourse. Those field testing kits have a unacceptable high rate of error.


    September 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    How can they say no error was made when they admitted there was no dangerous substance after claiming there was?

  3. mmff

    September 9, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    “The prosecutor’s office, though, maintains there was no error made.” — Someone needs to prepare their press releases a little more carefully. What a disgrace of a statement.

  4. narvik

    September 10, 2019 at 1:05 am

    The drug sniffing dog probably just developed a “sweet tooth”!

  5. Calchas

    September 10, 2019 at 8:52 am

    How did it take 82 days to run a lab test … and no bail in the mean time? What a great system.

  6. J S

    September 10, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    This is outrageous. There is no excuse whatsoever for taking 82 days to figure out that someone had nothing more dangerous than honey.

  7. Cymbo

    September 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, I can see myself in a situation like this. I would surely find the right lawyer and I would be made right!

  8. BCC

    September 11, 2019 at 12:11 am

    This is one of the very few times I would be in favor of a law suit. A guys short term to long term life is ruined. No Bail?? I guess it was guilty until proven innocent instead of what it should have been.

  9. vargha

    September 11, 2019 at 4:09 am

    This is why I stick with sugar instead of sugar substitutes.

  10. jficht

    September 11, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Another victim from the “War on Drugs”.

  11. Danwriter

    September 11, 2019 at 6:40 am

    This “article” disingenuously leaves out s a critical bit from one of the actual news reports it was lifted from:

    The reason for his extended jail stay, The Post reported, was due to Haughton’s status as a legal permanent resident of the United States with a green card. His arrest triggered a federal detention order, the paper noted, that extended his time in jail.

  12. Loren Pechtel

    September 11, 2019 at 9:22 am

    One thing that often happens here: The state figures people are going to plead guilty and doesn’t run the proper lab test for a while, often waiting until just before trial.

    And Danwriter’s point about the detention order is irrelevant–ICE has no more right to hold the innocent than the police do.

  13. polinka

    September 11, 2019 at 11:02 am

    But if he has a green card, he’s allowed to leave the country, right? If so, this was a travesty. And should be very scary to all of us. If he was out of status, okay then.

  14. infrequentfly3r

    September 11, 2019 at 11:47 am

    re: vargha September 11, 2019 at 4:09 am
    “This is why I stick with sugar instead of sugar substitutes.”

    FlyerTalk story that will be published in March of 2020: “A man named Vargha Frequentflyer was just released after nearly six months in jail after the sugar he was carrying through BWI Airport was mistaken for heroin. Vargha was heard to say he was switching to honey.”

  15. jrpallante

    September 11, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    The lawsuit should include his own counsel, who should have insisted on a proper test immediately. Ironically, if he were flying to New Zealand, he might have been jailed just for the honey:)

  16. tigers2007


    September 30, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Article leaves out some serious details here. Was Leon Haughton also wanted and being held on arrest warrants? Were there any OTHER legal issues running in-concert with this mysterious honey bucket (i.e. immigration matters, history of drug trafficking, etc.)?
    Also, there is no such thing as “Customs & Border Patrol” in the United States. Semantics, I get it, but it doesn’t exist and its ridiculous when the author cannot even identify the offending government agency properly. Take the 10 seconds to google it and get the proper reference, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection”.

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