A man says he was locked up for months after customs officials at a Maryland airport accused him of smuggling meth in his suitcase — but that "meth" was actually honey.
Leon Houghton said he traveled through Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Airport in December after a trip to Jamaica.
He came back with jars of honey.
Houghton says he was excited to drink the honey in his tea. But he never got that chance.
Customs officials at the airport said the jars tested positive for meth.
"I’m a hundred percent sure I don’t have no drugs. I have honey. So they take me to jail and lock me up. I spent, like, three months in jail," Houghton said.
According to the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Maryland crime lab can’t test liquids like honey and authorities had to ship the bottles to a lab in Georgia.
"They cannot give me no bond because it’s too much drugs and it came through the airport. I’m trying to tell them I don’t have no drugs. I have honey," Houghton said.
Houghton is not a U.S. citizen but lives in Bowie. He said the arrest put him at risk for being deported.
After lab tests showed the jars were in fact filled with honey, the charges against Houghton were dropped.
But Houghton says he's still struggling to put his life back together.
He says he lost his job as a cleaner after the arrest and the bills that piled up during his 82 days in jail plummeted his credit score.
"My kids are stressed out, my mom. Everybody was stressed out over everything. It's a lot of stuff I'm going through," Houghton said.
He also says some of his friends stopped talking to him and that he never received an apology from any officials.
"Nobody contacted me. Nobody tell me sorry, nobody do nothing," he said.
Customs and Border Protection officials told News4 that they're reviewing procedures, but would not provide specific information.
Hougton says he doesn't plan to fly again any time soon.