Local News

Raleigh woman stuck in Honduras has passport returned; officially back in US

Posted August 9, 2017 12:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:05 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh woman who has been stuck in Honduras after being found innocent on drug charges had her passport returned Wednesday and is back in the United States.

Amanda LaRoque, 51, had been checking out houses in Roatan, an island off the Honduran coast, and was heading back to the U.S. when she was arrested at the airport late last month.

She was carrying a "can safe," a fake Arizona Iced Tea can used by tourists to hide money and jewelry while on the beach, and airport security asked to examine it. When they found the can was empty, they cut into the lining and found a substance authorities believed was cocaine. On Friday, the substance tested negative for narcotics, and she was released from jail.

LaRoque's attorney filed paperwork to have her passport returned around 4 p.m. Friday, but the Honduran district attorney had to sign for her to leave the country.

That district attorney was on vacation and did not return until today.

Amanda LaRoque

LaRoque landed in Houston Wednesday afternoon and was expected to land at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport just after midnight.

"I just want to see her get off the plane and know she's back here in Raleigh," said LaRoque's mother, Barbara Levy.

She describes the ordeal as a horror story.

"I still can't relax. I am still worried," Levy said.

LaRoque said she is thankful to those that helped her through her time in Honduras.

"To all of the locals who have been so extremely helpful to me, and so many of them have come by to say goodbye and give me hugs," she said. "It's just really sad this whole thing happened."