Serious drug charges dropped after tests show suspected cocaine was flour
March 20, 2017
Police claimed that Eduardo DaSilva Alves had over 20 pounds of pot and a pound and a half of cocaine when an officer stopped him in November on Highway 49 and Brunswick Road.
Field tests performed on the supposed contraband proved incorrect, authorities said.
"We are not sure why law enforcement reported that a pound of household flour was cocaine," said defense attorney Heather Burke, who represents DaSilva Alves. "It was not. Mr. DaSilva Alves' name should be fully cleared."
Initially facing years behind bars, the 36-year-old Alves last month pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor — having under 30 grams of marijuana. He received credit for 52 days in the Nevada County Jail, three years' probation and community service, court records state.
"He pled to significantly reduced charges," said Joe Alexander, assistant district attorney.
"It appeared to be cocaine, but subsequent testing proved that it wasn't," he added.
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Authorities said they stopped DaSilva Alves, of Oakland, for turning and lighting violations. The Narcotics Task Force then responded to the scene because of the suspected contraband.
DaSilva Alves told officers he'd returned to the country from Brazil, saying the suspected drugs were merely tapioca powder. At the time the powder tested positive for cocaine, sheriff's deputies said.
"Confirmatory testing did not confirm that it was cocaine," Alexander said.
Authorities seized the suspected drugs and served DaSilva Alves with asset forfeiture papers. Court documents state items taken from him should be returned, including $4,301 in cash, a money belt, a computer tablet and cell phone.
"I felt like I was considered guilty before I could prove my innocence," DaSilva Alves states in an email. "I am happy to put this far behind me."
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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