Man jailed after drywall is mistaken for cocaine during traffic stop

Oviedo police to reevaluate field drug tests

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor , Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

OVIEDO, Fla. - A Geneva man who spent 3 months in jail for cocaine possession had his charge  dropped after a state lab test exonerated him.

Karlos Cashe, 57, was arrested on March 22 by Oviedo police during a traffic stop. 

This is the body camera footage from the March 22 traffic stop involving Cashe and Oviedo police.

[RAW VIDEO: Karlos Cashe arrested during Oviedo traffic stop]

Police say they pulled him over because his headlights were not on, but then they discovered he was on probation for a prior drug conviction,  and started questioning if he was out past curfew. 

It turns out he was not.

The traffic stop took place near Harrison and Queen Road in Oviedo - not far from where Cashe's girlfriend lives. 

That's where we caught up with him this afternoon.

"We can't drive down the road without being followed or pinpointed in some kind of way and that's got to stop," Cashe said. "It's been happening in Oviedo for a long time."

Cashe said there's no doubt in his mind he was profiled. 

"Because I was going to jail for something that night, and what it was, they decided it would be cocaine," Cashe said. "Something is wrong with the test, or something is wrong with the person who tested it. It's just that simple."

Oviedo police stand by their arrest since, according to their report, both their field tests and a police dog alerted to drugs being in the car. 

"We had probable cause off our presumptive test, and that's what we go off of," said Lt. Heather Capetillo with the Oviedo Police Department.

Capetillo said their Narco Pouch field kits are 99 percent accurate. 

The Oviedo police department field test kit tested positive for both cocaine and marijuana - a sample of the evidence residue believed to be cocaine was sent off to the Florida Department of  Law Enforcement to be tested in their lab - but the lab test came back negative for cocaine. Capetillo states prosecutors chose not to pursue charges on the alleged marijuana found in the car, so that sample was not sent to FDLE. 

"It was positive on scene, so we were under the impression we were doing the right thing," Capetillo said. 

But Cashe said they took away 90 days of his life, and he wants to be compensated.

 "I was free because of the lab test,  I won't be vindicated until they stop doing what they're doing," Cashe said. "It's like you stop somebody's life and if you are going to make rules you have to play by them."

Lt. Capetillo said they will review their test kits to see if there are other brands they can use. Cashe says he's currently looking for a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the city.

In a news release sent out by Oviedo police Wednesday, Capetillo said that the State Attorney’s Office initially decided to charge Cashe with possession of cocaine and drop the marijuana charge since the cocaine was a felony and the marijuana a misdemeanor. However, the courts did acknowledge at the time that Cashe violated his probation with the possession of marijuana complaint, even though they did not charge him with the crime.

 

The news release states Cashe stayed in jail for 90 days due to all of his violations of probation, which included possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, failure to pay the clerk of court $633 and failure to perform his 50 hours of community service. During his 90 days in jail, Cashe fired his court-appointed counsel and asked to defend himself, which prolonged the process, according to the news release.

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