Florida

She told cops they were vitamins. But botched test kept Florida mom in jail for months.

Rebecca Shaw
Rebecca Shaw Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

A Tampa Bay woman sat in jail for five months before she got vindication that the pills found in her car that she called vitamins were, indeed, vitamins.

According to an ongoing Fox 13 news investigation on faulty field drug tests, Rebecca Shaw served five months in jail until her husband could pay her $5,000 bail. Another seven months passed before the state crime lab concluded its testing and confirmed the pills that were found in her car were not oxycodone but rather simple vitamins.

Shaw’s ordeal began in September 2015. She had run out of gas when a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled up behind her car.

The deputy, Shaw said, asked if he could search her car and she consented. He found some pills and asked what they were. She said vitamins.

“He said, ‘They don’t look like vitamins. They look like oxycodone,’ ” Shaw told Fox 13. A field drug test kit, used by law enforcement to detect illegal drugs, produced a positive result for oxycodone. “My heart just sank. I said, ‘That’s wrong,’ ” she recalled to Fox 13.

Still, Shaw, who is now 33, was arrested and charged with trafficking oxycodone. The mother of four couldn’t pay her bail and said she was stuck in jail for five months, the station reported.

“It felt like my whole life was over. It was terrible. My kids were devastated,” she told Fox 13.

After her release, and the state crime lab’s confirmation, the case against Shaw was dropped. She now has a new attorney.

“He does the field drug test and because it tests positive, nothing else mattered. It didn’t matter she had no prior record, it didn’t matter she was out of gas,” her attorney Patrick LeDuc said in the station’s video report.

“They’re putting innocent people in jail and ruining people’s lives,” Shaw told Fox 13.

A Pasco County Sheriff’s representative was unavailable for comment.

Two months before her arrest, Pasco County police records show that Shaw had been arrested and charged with domestic battery and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

She was also arrested in June 2017 and charged with battery.

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