Charges dropped, but Wake County woman can't leave Honduras as early as planned

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Amanda LaRoque's scheduled return to the US on Saturday has hit a roadblock.

Charges against a Wake County woman accused of cocaine trafficking in Honduras have been dropped but she can't return to the Triangle on Saturday as she planned because a Honduran DA won't release her passport until next week.

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The announcement of the dropped charges came soon after it was revealed that a drug test showed the substance found in the "safe can" Amanda LaRoque had with her was not cocaine.

Family members told ABC11 earlier Friday that LaRoque and her husband, who traveled to Honduras soon after her detainment, plan on leaving the country as soon as possible.

LaRoque was scheduled to return to the US on Saturday, flying from Honduras to Houston, and then back the RDU late Saturday night. Those plans have been scrambled in the wake of her passport situation.

Her attorney, Jose Maria Castillo, told ABC11 on Friday night that he showed up at the office of Routan Assistant District Attorney Belkis Fabiola De Diego Marquez at 4:01 p.m., but the ADA's office closes at 4 p.m., so so she would not give him LaRoque's passport.

Because of vacation schedules in the ADA's office, LaRoque cannot get her passport until Tuesday. And if that happens after 12:50 p.m., the LaRoques will have to wait until Thursday to fly out as there is only one flight a day out of Roatan.

As ABC11 first reported July 31, LaRoque's nightmare began last weekend when she tried to board a plane to return to the United States after traveling to Honduras to look at property. She had a so-called "can safe" - a device designed to look like a soft-drink can used to hide valuables - in her luggage.

ABC11 cut open our own safe can and this is what we found.

When authorities searched it, white particles fell out that they suspected was cocaine, hence the testing of the material.

Amanda LaRoque in custody in Honduras.

Amanda LaRoque's legal troubles may not be finished, however.

The Roatan assistant district attorney said she plans to appeal Friday's full dismissal (apparently even after LaRoque leaves). On appeal, she will ask for what's called a probational dismissal - which allows five years to continue investigating whether the substance found in the "can safe" is a "precursor" that can be used to make drugs.

If she wins the appeal and the investigation leads to charges they would then try to issue an international warrant to bring LaRoque back to Honduras.

Castillo told ABC11 that the ADA will use the items confiscated as evidence in the appeal - the "can safe," LaRoque's suitcase, and her original plane tickets so LaRoque cannot get those items back before she leaves.

The U.S. embassy in Honduras has been following the case along with North Carolina lawmakers including Sen. Thom Tillis and Congressman David Price.
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