A Sarasota businesswoman and evangelist’s wife claims Miami-Dade police paraded her through Miami International Airport in handcuffs and subjected her to a strip search after mistaking her for an international drug trafficker.
In a lawsuit filed in county court, Raphaela Lucarelli, a longtime spa owner and wife of Florida evangelical preacher Daniel Adams, says a mundane misunderstanding over personal medication found in her luggage escalated into a false arrest on drug trafficking charges at the hands of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Lucarelli wants damages for false imprisonment and violations of her constitutional rights in connection with the May 25 airport incident.
“Being held like that is traumatic, especially for somebody who doesn’t have experience with the U.S. legal system,” Lucarelli’s attorney, Jeremy Friedman at Downs Law, tells New Times. “It isn’t right for someone to be treated like that. The officers acted first and looked to see if they were right later.”
Lucarelli says the saga began when she returned to Florida on an early morning flight after visiting family in Brazil. Upon her arrival at Miami International Airport around 6:00 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found her regimen of personal medication while inspecting her luggage. Though she explained that she had legal prescriptions for the pills, the agents brought her into a backroom, where she was “harassed by five to seven CBP officers,” Lucarelli says.
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SOURCE: Miami New Times, Izzy Kapnick