Family: Raleigh woman can't leave Honduras until Wednesday at the earliest
Posted August 4
Updated August 5
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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."