A man was detained for almost three months in the United States after bringing back from Jamaica three bottles of homemade honey that US customs thought to be mistaken for liquid methamphetamine.
Like every Christmas since he moved to the state of Maryland a decade ago, Leon Haughton went to visit his Jamaican family last winter, reports the Washington Post on Friday in a long article recounting his improbable legal-administrative disputes.
His Kafkaesque ordeal begins on December 29, at Baltimore airport, when a customs dog begins to sniff his bag.
Inside: three large, properly labeled bottles of artisanal honey, with which the 45-year-old father likes to flavor his tea.
But customs officials suspect him, according to the indictment, to carry liquid methamphetamine, and place him in detention.
The results of a Maryland lab take more than two weeks to arrive: they are negative. Leon Haughton thinks he's out of the woods. He is wrong.
First, the laboratory used for the first tests is not sufficiently equipped to analyze liquids. The bottles must be sent to a second laboratory in the state of Georgia.
The arrest of the Jamaican, holder of a green card allowing him to reside legally in the United States, then triggered a procedure with the immigration services, which his lawyer has all the trouble in the world to contact.
And for good reason: the US administration is affected by the "shutdown" - the paralysis of public services - caused by the standoff between Donald Trump and the Democratic opposition on the financing of the wall that the president wants to erect at the border with Mexico.
Analyzes done in Georgia finally confirm that Leon Haughton was carrying honey well. He is released on March 21, 82 days after returning from vacation.
Nearly three months behind bars, away from his companion and his children, which made him lose his two jobs in cleaning and building.
"They ruined my life," the Washington Post told the forty-year-old, for whom the pill is hard to swallow. Even with honey.
© 2019 AFP