Five nights in jail for coconut candy

The News Leader

January 22, 2010 2:51:00 PM PST
Cesar Rodriguez has a sweet tooth. Five to six times a day, he snacks on coconut candy. Bitterly, it landed him in jail for five days.

"They kept saying it was an ounce and a half of crack cocaine. I'm like, 'an ounce and half of crack cocaine?' It's coco candy," he said.

Last Friday, he walked out of a bodega on Arthur Avenue and 180th in the Bronx, when officers from the 48th precinct randomly asked if they could search his car. "I even opened the door for him. I said if you wanna search, search. It's full of tools, we're plumbers," Rodriguez said.

Instead of tools, they pulled out a Hello Kitty sandwich bag like this one, filled with coconut candy.

"When he was found it, he was like bingo. Bingo. I'm like bingo? What do you mean bingo? He said, 'Oh, this what y'all do. Y'all sell a lot of drugs, crack cocaine,'" Rodriguez explained.

The officers did not perform a field test. Rodriguez and Pena were arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance.

"Between Friday and Sunday, somebody should have tested this substance," attorney Neil Wollerstein said.

Pena only spent one night in jail, but the five nights for Rodriguez were hard.

"They locked me up for candy. And they're making it such a big deal. It had me worried. I was really stressed out," Rodriguez said.

The NYPD had no comment on the case. The two men are planning to file a lawsuit.