Police in the United States haven’t had a great time these past few years, especially when it comes to what they do on the internet. Yet the Granite Shoals Police Department in central Texas gave this tarnished digital image a much-needed boost of humor (and an arrest) when a jokey Facebook post led to some actual police work. That’s because the fake “breaking news” post advertised that recent shipments of meth and heroin to the area were tainted with Ebola, and anyone in possession of either should bring their supplies to the authorities for testing. And yes, someone actually did.
According to the Houston Chronicle, her name is Chastity Eugina Hopson. The world’s most gullible 29-year-old Texan was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance measuring in at less than a gram. That might not seem like a whole lot of meth, but considering the inherent dangers of consuming drugs tainted with Ebola, Hopson (and the Granite Shoals police) wasn’t going to take any chances. After all, the since-deleted fake news story the police published on Facebook sounded pretty serious.
“Meth and heroin recently brought in to Central Texas as well as the ingredients used to make it could be contaminated with the life threatening disease Ebola. If you have recently purchased meth or heroin in Central Texas, please take it to the local police or sheriff department so it can be screened with a special device.”
SO IT CAN BE SCREENED WITH A SPECIAL DEVICE. Or, in layman’s terms, a set of handcuffs.
Both the post and a subsequent news bit about Hopson’s arrest, went viral on Facebook and elsewhere. This drew a great deal of attention, and many commenters were very unhappy with the Granite Shoals Police Department’s apparent willingness to fool its followers. The department’s online representative defended the posts initially, but both were quickly taken down and replaced with a picture of Grumpy Cat.
Whether or not it was wrong, Hopson’s arrest and what led to it joins a hallowed pantheon of dumb criminals who responded to social-media posts about themselves or other crimes (and were later arrested).