Law Enforcement: Woman Arrested Over Flour-Filled Condom Wins $180,000 in Suit Settlement

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #468)
Drug War Issues

A Bryn Mawr college student who was arrested and jailed for three weeks on drug trafficking charges for carrying condoms filled with flour will be paid $180,000 by the city of Philadelphia in a settlement announced this week. Janet Lee was carrying the condoms, which women at the college used as toys to squeeze when they were stressed out, in her carry-on baggage as she boarded a Christmas season flight home to Los Angeles. Airport screeners found the condoms, and Philadelphia police said preliminary drug tests indicated the condoms contained opium and heroin.

Lee spent the next three weeks in the Philadelphia jail as authorities ignored her protestations of innocence. It was only when later drug tests failed to confirm the presence of drugs that she was released.

After her release from jail and the dropping of the charges, Lee filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city. It was scheduled to go to trial Thursday, but city officials announced Wednesday that they had agreed to pay Lee $180,000 to settle the suit.

"Under the circumstances, something went terribly wrong," Lee's lawyer, Jeffrey Ibrahim, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We're trying to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again."

Lee, a freshman at the time of her arrest, said she had no idea drug traffickers used condoms to carry drugs. "I was naive, really stupid," she said.

[Editor's Note: Condoms are used by "mules" who swallow them filled with drugs and have them in their stomachs when flying into the country; they are not a preferred packaging for drugs carried outside the body, say in one's carry-on baggage.]

Naivete, however, is not yet a criminal offense in this country, and neither is carrying flour in a condom. Now, the city of Philadelphia is paying for its drug war zealotry, although it refuses to admit to wrongdoing or liability.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Jesus H Christ on a crutch!!! When will the "Man" develop a sence of justice, intregity and honor in this country? Not as long as money can be made. Legalize flour in condomes I say.

Sat, 01/13/2007 - 12:03am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

havent any of you cops ever heard of the numbies?

Sat, 01/13/2007 - 2:04pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

When the unknown Meteor hits EARTH and wipes OUT HumanKind.

Tue, 01/16/2007 - 4:03pm Permalink

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