Texas Man Arrested on Meth Possession Charge Says Substance Deputy Found Was Cat Litter

A man arrested near Houston hopes to see changes to field testing after he was arrested on a possession charge in December for a substance that he said was cat litter.Ross Lebeau of Cypress was pulled over Dec. 5. in Harris County after he made a right turn without signaling, the Houston Chronicle reported. A sheriff's deputy found a substance in Lebeau's vehicle and conducted a field test. The nuggets tested positive for methamphetamine.Lebeau denied any knowledge of the substance. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance. His bail was reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 and he bonded out. But Lebeau said the nuggets weren't meth after all, but cat litter. The litter had been stuffed into a sock and his father had put there to absorb moisture in the vehicle and keep the windshield from fogging up, the Chronicle reported. The case was dismissed on Jan. 4. A Harris County Court document obtained by the Chronicle cites "not a controlled substance" as the reason for dismissal.Lebeau told the Chronicle he wants to clear his name and restore his reputation. He said he doesn't blame the deputy for arresting him, but would like to see a shift away from the kinds of unreliable field tests that can produce false results leading some people to spend time in jail."A lot of people plead guilty to these crimes because they can't afford to be bailed out," Lebeau said. According to a 2016 report from the National Registry of Exonerations, in 41 of the 73 drug crime exonerations in Harris County in 2015, people were arrested on the basis of field tests that indicated a controlled substance was present.Field tests in the past have incorrectly identified items like patchouli, chocolate chip cookies, Jolly Ranchers as drugs, the Washington Post reported.  Continue reading...

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