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North Carolina Sheriffs Mistake Tortilla Dough (aka Masa) for Cocaine, Arrest Mexican by Accident

masa_flicrkjlastras.jpg
Flickr user jlastras
Does this ball of masa look like an eight-ball to you?

Over the past decade, the Carolinas have seen the largest increase in its Latino population of any states in the country, meaning South and North went from states where the only Latinos were in their universities to healthy, large communities. Such a sudden change, however, has come with growing pains--namely good ol' boys meeting Mexican food that wasn't Chi-Chi's or Taco Bell for the first time in their life.

That's apparently what happened in Buncombe County (now THAT'S a name!), where sheriff's deputies pulled over one Antonio Hernandez Carranza for driving erratically, and saw a mysterious substance in his car. They arrested him for cocaine possession, 91 pounds of it--except it wasn't cocaine. Most of it was masa, the corn dough consumed and prepared by Mexicans since the dawn of time.
The full story is here, but it turns out Hernandez had been driving from Carson to Tennessee, with a carload of masa, shrimp and flour (harina?) for his family but took a wrong turn and ended up in North Carolina. The deputies only found out the masa wasn't cocaine after a lab analysis returned negative, and released Hernandez without an apology--after keeping him in jail FOR FOUR DAYS, impounding his car, and taking his dog.

What's next for those Blue Ridge deputies--mistaking a bag of udon for lines of crack?

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