A Florida man spent 41 days in jail, days that included Christmas and New Year’s Eve, after he was wrongly accused of possessing heroin — it turned out to just be detergent.
According to a Martin County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com, Matt Crull, 29, was approached by a deputy on December 5 after a report of a suspicious vehicle.
He was found "sleeping due to being intoxicated behind the vehicle of his blue Astro van,” the deputy alleged in the report.
The deputy wrote that he found an open container of alcohol and marijuana in the car, as well as a bag with a white powder-like substance that the deputy claimed tested positive for heroin.
"Crull advised he was sorry for the open container of beer, and asked that I give him a notice to appear for the marijuana," the deputy wrote. As for the heroin accusation, Crull told him, "I don't do hard drugs."
The deputy who authored the report, Steven O’Leary, has since been fired after an investigation revealed that he arrested in total at least 11 people for false drug charges, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach.
As for Crull, that heroin turned out to just be detergent. As for the van, he had just bought it, he told WPTV.
“I just looked at him baffled and confused because I had no idea as to where 92 grams of heroin came from inside my van,” Crull said.
Crull was charged with heroin trafficking and other charges and spent 41 days behind bars.
“I’m not saying he ruined my life,” Crull told local outlet WPBF25, “but he definitely caused me a lot of emotional distress and a lot of stress on my family.”
The sheriff’s department is now calling O’Leary a bad apple.
“No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, just based on the law of possibilities there’s always a possibility that one bad apple will slip through,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told WPTV.
Charges for all 11 people, Crull included, have been dropped.
Crull told WPTV he wasn’t sure if he will try to sue.
“(It’s) very surreal when you’re sitting in jail with a half a million dollars bond,” Crull told WPBF25 about the experience, “and you can’t go anywhere knowing that you didn’t do wrong.”
[Photo: Martin County Sheriff’s Office]
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