FDLE stands by test results after field kit mistakes drywall dust for cocaine

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement stood by its lab testing after an Oviedo police officer's field test kit mistook drywall dust for cocaine, which led to a man's arrest.

Oviedo police it will take a closer look at their drug test kits after the March incident that sent Karlos Cashe to jail after he was pulled over for driving without headlights.

A K-9 officer made a hit on possible drugs on the passenger side of Cashe’s vehicle, police said.

Oviedo police used a test kit and said a powdery substance tested positive for cocaine; they also found marijuana in the car, police said.

Cashe was on probation for marijuana and cocaine charges.

However, further testing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed the powdery substance was not a controlled substance.

Cashe sat in jail for 90 days before the test results came back.

The amount of time spent in jail, was not completely based on the cocaine charge, though, the Oviedo Police Department said.

Cashe was jailed on a violation of probation charge stemming from charges of possession of marijuana, failure to pay court fees and failure to perform community service, police said.

“We had probable cause. Our presumptive tests on the cocaine was positive and that’s what we go off of. That’s why with every presumptive that we do, we send it off to FDLE,” said Lt. Heather Capetillo with the Oviedo Police Department.

The faulty results of the field kit is not connected to the work done by state investigators, FDLE agent in charge Danny Banks said.

In a lab, agents are able to make a concrete determination about a substance, he said.

"If it is a controlled substance, it will identify what it is," Banks said. "If there's not a controlled substance, our report will indicate the lack of any controlled substance.

"It either scientifically is, or it scientifically is not."

Police use a NarcoPouch, made by Safariland, to test for the narcotics.

Safariland is the same company used by Orlando police when they arrested a man after doughnut glaze tested positive for meth.

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Eyewitness News asked Oviedo police if there was an issue with the test kits.

“We will probably review test kits. (We will) contact FDLE and see if there are other test kits or other brands we can use,” Capetillo said.