Local News

Family: Raleigh woman can't leave Honduras until Wednesday at the earliest

Posted August 4
Updated August 5

— Amanda LaRoque, who was imprisoned in Honduras for five days, will not be able to leave the country Saturday as planned, her brother told WRAL.

A substance that Honduran police thought to be cocaine that led to the jailing of the Raleigh woman has tested negative for narcotics.

The result of the test was released Friday in a Honduran court where Amanda LaRoque sat for a hearing to determine if she would be released from custody. LaRoque has been detained since last weekend when police found what they thought was cocaine in a "can safe" she was carrying.

LaRoque's attorney filed paperwork to have her passport returned around 4 p.m., which the District Attorney must sign for her to leave the country. The DA went on vacation on the mainland of Honduras and will not return to the island until Wednesday, meaning LaRoque will not be able to leave the country for at least five more days.

The DA has also filed an "innocent but on probation" appeal, meaning if LaRoque were to visit the island within five years and faced legal issues, the government could revisit the case.

Her family is very upset, as they thought she would return to Raleigh Saturday. LaRoque said she plans to contact the US Embassy on Monday to make them aware of her situation.

Amanda and Brandon LaRoque own The Goat bar on Western Boulevard.

Amanda LaRoque

Jamie Sanchez, who is from Cary and was in court with LaRoque on Friday, said the Honduran district attorney wants to continue prosecution even though the test results were negative. The DA said in a closing statement that even though the substance was not drugs, it might be something used to make drugs, according to Sanchez.

Amanda LaRoque spoke with WRAL News over the phone on Friday afternoon. She said she was relieved and elated by the outcome.

"I will be even more relieved when I'm on a plane and the wheels go up and I'm in the air and there's no turning back," she said.

Amanda LaRoque was in Honduras searching for a vacation home before last weekend. She was looking at houses in Roatan, an island off the Honduran coast, and was on her way back to the United States when she was arrested in the airport.

"It should have never happened," Amanda LaRoque said Friday. "I knew I didn't have drugs, but I never expected to spend five days in an 8-foot by 12-foot jail cell."

"You can't make this up. This is ridiculous. This could have happened to anybody."

Laroque's mother, Barbara Levy, said she is infuriated she can not coming home Saturday.

"This is absolutely crazy. I just got off the phone with Mandy. This is insane," she said. "She may not be able to get home until Wednesday or Thursday."

Levy said she wants them back so she can get back to their business and lives.

"I can't wait to hug her at the airport and know she's home," she said. "There is no ways he has ever done drugs. And even if she did, she a very smart businesswoman. There's not way she would take it to South America with her. The whole thing, I knew from the beginning, was just so crazy."

She said she hopes her daughter will be on a plane back to Raleigh Saturday.

"If anything positive had to come out of this, I think just learning how many people care about complete strangers and are willing to help. It’s just a wonderful thing," she said.

LaRoque was carrying a "can safe" -- a fake Arizona Iced Tea can tourists use to hide money and jewelry while on the beach -- and airport security asked to examine it. When they found the can was empty, they then cut into the lining.

When authorities cut into the can, Brandon LaRoque said a concrete lining or sealant used to give the can weight released a powdery substance, and police thought it was cocaine.

Amanda LaRoque said she had the "can safe" with her on her trip to Honduras and it was not questioned by security.

While in custody, Amanda LaRoque had to be taken to the hospital to receive medical treatment, though in a Facebook video she said Honduran police had treated her well.

"She threw up. Her blood pressure was going sky high," said her mother, Barbara Levy, who lives in Cary. "I have really been crazy about this situation. I'm just worried about her. I just want her home."


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • carolinej Aug 4, 9:43 p.m.

    I trust that the search for a vacation property down that way is over and done with.

  • Henry Cooper Aug 4, 8:46 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Maybe because in the past we have influenced that country via military presence and used it for our war on El Salvador and Nicaragua to the point it was called the "U.S.S. Honduras". Maybe because finally in 2009 a coup overthrew the government officials that the US had aligned itself with.

    Pot Kettle Black... this country is not nice to the poor whether it be a country or a person.

  • Melanie Lane Aug 4, 8:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    yes, what kind of mean, evil government looks at someone from another country and assumes the worst of them even to the point of being willing to lock them up

  • John Townsend Aug 4, 7:26 p.m.
    user avatar

    She probibly declined to pay a bribe. $20 could have avoided this.

  • Larry Fellers Aug 4, 6:54 p.m.
    user avatar

    They must be stupid over there, we have stuff to test drugs on the spot!

  • Anita Gibson Aug 4, 5:15 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I sure wouldn't trust them not to try, stranger things have happened. She won't be safe til that plane is in the air. She still has to get from where she is to the airport. If that DA is mad enough anything could happen. People need to stay out of these third world countries. We aren't popular there.

  • Robin Koury Jr Aug 4, 4:50 p.m.
    user avatar

    The Laws, Courts and penalty's are totally different in other Countries..Some of them do not mess around.Courts in USA may slap you on hand for something but in other countries you might get 10 years..

  • Thomas Williams Aug 4, 4:48 p.m.
    user avatar

    As much as America, and Americans are hated by most of the world, I wouldn't be going to places like that. There is a risk that you may never put your feet on home soil again.

  • Tom Slaughter Aug 4, 3:32 p.m.
    user avatar

    Glad the case was dismissed. Know she will be glad once her plane is airborne and out of Honduran air space.

    Now just hope they don't go back down to Honduras to keep looking for property. If she does, then.....

    Sounds like a bunch of jack legged, third world fools to me. The police and the district attorney. We go on mission trips, but won't ever go to Horrendous. That you can bet on.

  • Michael Bryant Aug 4, 3:15 p.m.
    user avatar

    "Might be something used to make drugs". Well if you want to get technical, water is used to grow weed. Is water illegal? Some people have nothing better to do.