Tampa woman tries to prove drug warrant not for her - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa woman tries to prove drug warrant not for her

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

At first, Carmen Medina says she thought it was a joke.

A deputy who pulled her over on a traffic stop told her she was wanted on a warrant from New York involving drugs.

"I have never sold drugs, I have never used drugs, I drink once in a blue moon at a party or on Christmas," Medina said.

But Medina, 64, spent a week in jail, and is still trying to prove the woman in the blurry 1980s photos from New York isn't her.

Medina and her attorney say she's not the Carmen Medina wanted in New York City on the "dangerous drugs" warrant.

Medina's attorney pointed out discrepancies in the old NYPD police reports, including a height that's off by several inches and notes that the New York Medina is from Puerto Rico and the Tampa Medina is originally from Cuba.

"She's now stuck having to prove her innocence," said attorney Nicholas Matassini. "Normally the law presumes you innocent until proven guilty, but in real life it doesn't always work out that way."

Complicating the case, there appear to be no fingerprints or social security number available in connection with the New York warrant.

But the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says Medina's name, birth date and general description match the warrant. Plus, Medina had previously lived in New York.

"In this case, (the deputy) went line by line on the amount of information he had in the warrant, and matched it to the information he had presented in front of him," said McKinnon said.

McKinnon also said Medina told the deputy she knew about warrant.

Medina says she's been aware of several warrants for someone named "Carmen Medina." She says she learned of ones in New York and Miami a few years ago while trying to straighten out a Tampa warrant.

Medina says the Tampa one popped up when an officer ran her license, and she later visited Hillsborough's Falkenburg Road jail and the state attorney's office, even having fingerprints taken to clear it up. During that process, she says someone saw the Miami and New York warrants on a computer, but told her "not to worry about those."

Medina has a hearing scheduled in front of a judge in Hillsborough County next week.

But McKinnon says she will likely have to go to New York to straighten things out, or she the issue may come up again.


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