Occasionally, the foot soldiers in the war on drugs get a little too excited. Here are some stories about people who were busted for possessing narcotics…which turned out to be far more innocent substances.
The white stuff
On July 31, 2019, police in Clinton County, South Carolina, pulled over Shai Werts, quarterback for the Georgia Southern University football team, for driving too fast. As an officer got closer to Werts’ Dodge Charger, they spotted a suspicious but familiar looking substance on the hood of the car. The police insisted it was cocaine, and questioned Werts about it. “What’s the white stuff on the front of your hood, man?” the officer asked Werts, after he’d been detained in a police car (according to video of the incident). “Bird s***,” Werts replied, adding, “I promise you that is bird doo-doo.” After nobody could provide any proof that the white stuff stuck to the outside of Werts’ car was cocaine and not bird poop, the drug charge was dropped.
If you want to read about celebrity misdeeds, odd coincidences, and disastrous blunders, Uncle John’s Truth, Trivia, and the Pursuit of Factiness has what you need.
South Florida is a tropical place, full of sunny beaches where locals and tourists can walk around in swimsuits almost year-round. It’s also a major point of entry for the illegal drug trade: Lots of cocaine enters the U.S. through Miami, with some smugglers so bold as to drop it from planes. When a large part of Miami experienced a fine dusting on January 19, 1977, lots of people thought that a cocaine “drop” had gone wrong, and a shipment had exploded upon impact, sending the fine white powder everywhere. That was a far more believable notion than what had actually happened: It was the first time in recorded history that snow fell on Miami.
It’s a common fear for parents that their kid will get hooked on drugs, so Texas mom Lisa Banks’ heart was in the right place in June 2016 when she accused her daughter, Ashley, of hiding drugs in her room. The younger Banks posted screenshots of a text conversation with her mother, and the exchange went viral because it has a happy and silly ending. Lisa was apparently looking for a calculator in Ashley’s nightstand drawer, which is where she found a plastic bag full of brightly colored capsules. With a picture of the capsules, Lisa wrote, “I will not have drugs in my house. Come home right now.” Ashley replied, “They aren’t drugs,” and suggested her mother take the pills and “put them in water.” Lisa did, discovering that those capsules weren’t drugs at all, but those “magic grow” capsules that, when placed in water, expand into small, shaped sponges. (In this case, they were dinosaurs.)