Honduran judge dismisses drug trafficking charges against Raleigh bar owner

Amanda LaRogue in a Facebook video from a Honduran jail. (Used with permission)

HONDURAS (WNCN) – A Honduran judge dismissed charges against a Raleigh woman Friday accused of drug trafficking cocaine, allowing her to leave the country, her family says.

Amanda LaRoque was carrying a “can safe,” a hollowed-out iced tea can through airport security last week when a K-9 searched her luggage. Honduran police said a powdery substance in the can was cocaine.

RELATED: Raleigh bar owner travels to Honduras after wife jailed over drug charges

Tests came back negative for all drugs Friday but the district attorney wanted to move forward with the case.

After the DA called a witness, the judge dismissed the case against the woman, allowing her to leave Honduras.

But Amanda Laroque’s family said she wouldn’t be able to leave the country until Wednesday at best as she wasn’t in possession of her passport or luggage. She had originally hoped to return home Saturday, but family members now say they don’t expect the district attorney to return her passport before Wednesday.

CBS North Carolina was there when Amanda LaRoque called her mother and brother in Cary after the court hearing was done.

“Get to your room. Take a nice shower, a long bath and just chill out,” Barbara Levy told her daughter. “It’s over.”

“I have slept in an 8×12 cell with no air conditioning for five days,” Amanda LaRoque told her mother. “I haven’t changed my clothes in five days. I haven’t showered in five days.

“I just want to go home,” Amanda LaRoque said.

The “can safe” contains concrete so it has some weight, making it feel like a real can of tea, according to Amanda LaRoque’s husband.

Amanda LaRoque’s husband, Brandon, said the DA’s closing statement claimed the can did not contain drugs, but could contain something used to make drugs.

Brandon LaRoque said the DA called for her release, but wants it to be probationary.

A probationary release would have left the door open to prosecution later, according to the husband.

LaRoque had been looking for property in the Central American country before her arrest.

Amanda and Brandon own “The Goat,” a bar on Western Boulevard in Raleigh.

Brandon LaRoque flew to Honduras in the days after his wife’s arrest. At that time, she was being housed in a jail with no electricity or toilet paper.

Amanda Laroque was traveling with her friend Kim Hoveland at the time of the arrest. Hoveland stayed in the jail with LaRoque immediately following her arrest even though Hoveland wasn’t accused of any crimes.

“The facility they are holding her in is a dog cage,” Hoveland said. “It has a dirt floor. They do not provide you with a toilet, toilet paper, food or water at any process once you are detained and arrested. That’s all on you.”


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