ATLANTA - A college student from Thailand is in a US federal detention center over what her family claims is CBD oil and vitamins.
Sirinda Jinparu flew into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 14 with her stepfather, Joe DeBose, and her 12-year-old sister from Bangkok, Thailand.
DeBose told FOX 5 Jinparu ran into an issue as she went through customs.
"They said she was carrying narcotics, which she wasn't. It was a massage spray that contained CBD and some vitamins," DeBose said.
DeBose said the spray is used to help relieve body pain and it has .3 percent THC, the legal limit for CBD products.
He said she also had a blister pack of vitamins containing Fah Talai Jone. Some believe the Thai traditional herb can help prevent getting COVID-19.
It's something her mother packed for her.
"All the ingredients were written in Thai. So, with no due diligence, they just went ahead and assumed they were narcotics," DeBose said.
DeBose said the Atlanta Police Department was called over, but he said the officers didn't arrest her.
"However, in that time period of when they were going to charge her, they revoked her visa that she was traveling on. So, when they gave her back to ICE, she was now a person traveling without a visa," he said.
She was taken into ICE custody.
"I keep telling her, you didn't do anything wrong. This was just a whole series of mistakes that have gotten us here,' he said.
Jinparu was traveling on a tourist visa. She lives in Thailand and goes to school there.
However, her biological father is a US citizen, a former Sergeant Major in US Army Special Forces.
DeBose, a retired Marine, and her biological father have provided the necessary documentation to prove her claim to US citizenship.
"That was denied because of lack of DNA evidence, which her biological father was happy to provide," DeBose said. "ICE isn't willing to cooperate with a DNA test. They essentially have told me ... it's basically a done deal as far as they're concerned. They're sending her back."
DeBose said he's doing everything in his power to get her out, but as expected, the 21-year-old is struggling to make sense of it all.
"When you're told you've done something wrong when you haven't done anything wrong. It's hard on a young person, especially, who has never been put in a situation like this to be told that essentially she's a criminal and that she can't see her family. It’s been pretty devastating for her," he said.
FOX 5 did reach out to the Atlanta Police Department to figure out if they decided not to press charges because they deemed the spray and vitamins to be legal products, but did not hear back.
FOX 5 also reached out to ICE, but did not get a response.
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