12/17/2013 02:06 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Annadel Cruz, Alexander Bernstein Jailed For 1 Month After Cops Mistake Soap For Cocaine

Floriana Barbu via Getty Images

Two people spent a month in jail because police mistakenly believed two packages of homemade soap were cocaine.

Annadel Cruz, 26, was behind the wheel of a Mercedez-Benz on Interstate 79 in Lehigh County, Penn., on November 13 when troopers pulled her over for going five miles over the speed limit, according to the Morning Call.

When a trooper said he smelled marijuana, the New York woman admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and also allegedly produced a small amount of marijuana she was carrying in her bra.

The trooper found two white bricks wrapped in clear packaging. Cruz said the bricks were homemade soap, but field tests reportedly indicated the substance was cocaine, Lehigh Valley Live reported at the time.

Both Cruz and her passenger, 30-year-old Alexander Bernstein, were taken to jail on cocaine-trafficking charges. Bernstein's bail was set at $500,000. Cruz, who was also charged with marijuana possession and traffic violations, had bail set at $250,000.

A month later, officials determined that the white bricks were indeed soap.

Bernstein's bail was posted December 10, one day before the charges were dropped, while Cruz was released from jail December 11.

Bernstein's attorney, Josh Karoly, told the Morning Call he believes the pair was profiled.

"I think it is a nice car with out-of-state plates and a Hispanic female behind the wheel. If it was me driving that car, this wouldn't have happened."

Karoly also said he believes that either the field test was never conducted, or something was done incorrectly. If field tests are going to send people to jail, he said, "we better be darn sure that these field tests are accurate."



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