Hoosier Grandmother Arrested for Purchasing Cold Medication

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Last March, Sally Harpold, an Indiana grandmother of triplets, bought two boxes of cold medication in less than a week. Together, the two boxes contained 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine, putting her in violation of the state’s methamphetamine-fighting law, which forbids the purchase of more than three grams by one person in a seven-day period.

Police came to Harpold’s home, arrested and handcuffed her, and booked her in a Vermillion County jail. No one believes Harpold was making meth or aiding anyone who was. But local authorities aren’t apologizing for her arrest.

“I don’t want to go there again,” [Vermillion County Prosecutor Nina] Alexander told the Tribune-Star, recalling how the manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine ravaged the tiny county and its families.

While the law was written with the intent of stopping people from purchasing large quantities of drugs to make methamphetamine, the law does not say the purchase must be made with the intent to make meth.

“The law does not make this distinction,” Alexander said…

Just as with any law, the public has the responsibility to know what is legal and what is not, and ignorance of the law is no excuse, the prosecutor said.

“I’m simply enforcing the law as it was written,” Alexander said…

It is up to customers to pay attention to their purchase amounts, and to check medication labels, Alexander said.

“If you take these products, you ought to know what’s in them,” she said.

Harpold’s photo was put on the front page of the local paper as part of an article about the arrest of 17 people in a “drug sweep.” Alexander has generously allowed Harpold to enter a deferral program. If she commits no crimes in the next 30 days, her arrest will be wiped from her record. She’ll still have to pay court costs and attorney fees.

I’ll leave it to Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel to (unintentionally) put an exclamation point on the absurdity.

“Sometimes mistakes happen,” Marvel said. “It’s unfortunate. But for the good of everyone, the law was put into effect.

“I feel for her, but if she could go to one of the area hospitals and see a baby born to a meth-addicted mother …”

Because clearly the best way to prevent meth-addicted babies is to arrest women who buy cold medication for their grandchildren.

(Via William Grigg)

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

109 Responses to “Hoosier Grandmother Arrested for Purchasing Cold Medication”

  1. #1 |  OtherDave | 

    The thing of it, though, is the D.A. and the Sheriff’s office, it’s their job to enforce the law, not decide which ones are stupid and shouldn’t be enforced. Imagine if you call the cops because your spouse is beating you up, but the cop doesn’t do anything because “he thinks that law is stupid”.

    Granted, in Nina’s case I wouldn’t be defending it saying “but it gets rid of the Meth addicts”, I would have pursued a different course, whereby purchasing that much pseudoephedrine constitutes probable cause for a search; if they find she’s making crystal meth, then bust her. Make the resale of the drug by a non-pharmacy a misdemeanor, and viola. Folks who want to avoid jail but want a quick buck are properly discouraged (a short jail stint will dissuade you from that nicely), and if you continue to do it, you’re part of the meth dealer’s distro network, and you can go to jail for a lot of time accordingly.

    Everybody who needs it gets busted, now wasn’t THAT tough?

  2. #2 |  Ex-methmonster | 

    These laws are created to arrested people on government fabricated drug charges.
    Once the the government deemed it necessary to put a control on the sale of pseudoephedrine laced products,that made these products a controlled substance.
    How many controlled substances can be purchased without a prescription?(excluding illegal substances such as coke,meth,herion,ect.)
    By stopping the sale of these cold pills containing pseudoephedrine at the pharmacy counter without a prescription,stops the ma & pa manufacturing process thats reaking havoc on these communities.
    The government doesn’t want to stop this cycle,just control it.
    The prescription law that Oregon currently has reinforces my post.
    Their ma & pa meth lab problem is nearly non-existant.

  3. #3 |  Maybe granny should start making meth to pay for her bail? | You All Disgust Me | 

    […] go out to Inquisitr, RumorMillNews, The Agitator, […]

  4. #4 |  Jacques St. Charles | 

    Lots of big talk here. When will you slaves in Indiana rebel?

    Throw these 2 bastards out. Period.

    And the rest of you – when these low life snot balls walk into your stores – refuse to serve them. No groceries. No gas. No nothing!

    Make them pariahs in their own town.

    Say it’s because you don’t want to blindly break some law.

  5. #5 |  cold med's pappy | 

    Let them know what you think !!!!

    Vermillion County Prosecutor
    P. O. Box 249
    Newport, IN. 47966-0249

    1st Floor of the Courthouse in Newport Indiana

    (800) 340-8155
    Ext: 123 Office Manager Mary Lunsford
    Ext: 124 Deputy Prosecutor Greg Carter
    Ext: 125 Prosecutor Nina Alexander

    Local (765) 492-3618
    Fax (765) 492-7043

  6. #6 |  david | 

    i wish i could be around when the lord brings these sinners to his court.im not talking about grandma either

  7. #7 |  kat | 

    I feel for this grandma. This happened to me in 2006. I had never even had a traffice ticket let along been arrested for anything. I hope she can get it erased from her record because it has haunted me. I even got turned down at Walmart for a part time job because of this arrest. I wish her luck in fighting it.

  8. #8 |  How to tell if you’re an Asshole | Miscellaneous Heathen | 

    […] an Indiana prosecutor, and you’re hell-bent-for-leather on jailing a grandmother for buying too much […]

  9. #9 |  Lou | 

    This is what happens when you legistlate for the Village Idiot.

    Everyone involved in Gramma’s arrest should be summarily terminated from their positions. Do they think they’re working for the Gestapo?! Ridiculous, ridiculous, morons.