A Texas man is demanding an apology after he was charged and jailed for a bag of cat litter that was mistaken for methamphetamine.
Ross Lebeau, 24, was charged with possessing almost half a pound of methamphetamine after two field tests performed by Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies during a December traffic stop yielded positive results, a local NBC News affiliate reported.
“They thought they had the biggest bust in Harris County. This was the bust of the year for them,” Mr. Lebeau told a local ABC News affiliate.
Not only was Mr. Lebeau jailed for three days but his arrest became the subject of a news release from the sheriff’s office, mugshot included, that read it “may have kept our children and loves ones free from being introduced to drugs,” ABC reported.
On Wednesday, the case was dismissed because it was determined the material was not a controlled substance. It was actually cat litter that Mr. LeBeau said he kept in his car to reduce fog on his windows.
“During the investigation Mr. LeBeau failed to identify the substance and later, after being released indicated on social media that the substance was cat litter that he kept in a sock in his vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
“Regarding this incident all indication shows that the deputies followed basic procedures and followed established protocol related to this incident,” the statement read. “Because of the established procedures in place and this contraband was submitted to the Institute of Forensic Science it was determined not to be methamphetamine and charges were dismissed.”
Mr. Lebeau said the ordeal has been humiliating and has even caused him to lose work.
“I would like an apology,” he told ABC. “I was wrongly accused and I’m going to do everything in my power, with my family’s backing, to clear my name.”
However, he and his attorney do not blame the deputies for the mistake, but the field tests for incorrectly identifying the substance.
“Ultimately it might be bad budget-cutting testing equipment they need to re-evaluate,” attorney George Reul said.