Suspected drugs were vitamins, but Mankato man spent months in jail

Felony drug charges have been dropped against a Mankato, Minnesota man who spent months in jail before crime lab tests determined the suspected drugs were actually vitamins.

Joey Burrell, 31, was arrested in November and charged with two felony counts of drug possession after a bag of powder was seized from his car. Blue Earth County assistant attorney Chris Rovney said a field test came back positive for amphetamine, but a more thorough test by the state crime lab tested negative for any illegal substances. With several unrelated charges pending and a substantial criminal history, he remained locked up, his bail set at $250,000.

"I was furious, I was hot, I was pissed off. At the same time it was like, unbelievable," he said.

It took nearly three months for the official results to get back from the BCA and for prosecutors to take action. His four felony charges were dismissed.

Criminal defense attorney Jeff Degree. who is not directly involved in this case, says it doesn't happen often where a police administered field drug test is corrected by a more exact scientific examination at the BCA.

"I believe the prosecutor in Blue Earth County was dragging their feet. I got arrested November 14, 38 days later, he finally sends the alleged amphetamines for the BCA lab to get final test results," Burrell said.

Burrell's case had been scheduled to go to trial in early February.

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