"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Three Weeks in Jail for Possession of Vitamins

Police claimed vitamin powder was actually amphetamines

MANKATO, Minnesota  —  A Mankato man who sat in jail for weeks awaiting trial for possessing a large amount of powder amphetamine was released recently after the charges were dismissed.

It turns out his story about the powder actually being vitamins was true.

Joseph Ray Burrell, 31, said he isn't happy that it took as long as it did for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crime lab's findings to be processed. He said evidence records show about a month passed before prosecutors sent the powder in to be tested and more than a month passed after that before the results were returned.

In the meantime, Burrell sat in jail waiting to go to trial for two felony counts each of third- and fifth-degree drug possession. He was released after the charges were dismissed Feb. 4. His trial was scheduled to start the following day.

"I had been sitting in the jail since November with my bail set at $250,000," Burrell said. "Then, two days before trial, they dropped the charges and let me go."

Chris Rovney, assistant Blue Earth County attorney, said an initial field test of a bag of powder found in a car Burrell was driving on Nov. 14 tested positive for amphetamine. A more expensive and more accurate test completed by the BCA showed the powder did not contain anything illegal, so the charges were dismissed, he said.

The vitamins had been prescribed to treat a sore shoulder Burrell had at the time, he said.

"I told the judge I couldn't plead guilty to something I knew wasn't a drug," Burrell said about a plea offer he received. "They set my bail at $250,000 for vitamins."

(Mankato Free Press)

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