Polk man spends multiple days in jail on arrest warrant from NYC, a city he says he's never visited

Posted at 10:58 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 23:10:53-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Polk County man spent nearly three days in the Hillsborough County jail after a wrongful arrest.

Records from the Tampa Police Department said Levonza Smith was involved in a traffic crash in Tampa. Officers collected information from all parties involved.

Smith provided officers with his driver's license and social security number.

"Told me to put my hands behind my back. I do so and they put me in the back of the car," said Smith.

Smith was arrested. He said officers gave him few details and said they arrested him on a warrant out of New York City.

Records from Tampa Police stated the warrant was issued on November 8, 2011 by the New York Police Department for dangerous drugs.

"I ain't never been to New York so how did I have a warrant in New York? I was terrified," said Smith.

Smith was transported to the Hillsborough County jail. Records showed he spent nearly three days in jail.

"It was crazy because I had never been in a situation like that," said Smith.

Smith said it was a scary situation. He relies on multiple medications after having heart surgery earlier this year. He said he did not have access to those medications.

Jail records stated it was an "improper arrest." Smith was later released.

"I felt totally helpless," said Smith.

"They came over to me and told me I was leaving. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know if I was going to be shipped to New York or what the situation was... she just said pack your stuff, you're leaving. That's when he came and frisked me and told me I was going home," added Smith.

A spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said it is investigating Smith's claims. The spokesperson added when someone is booked on an out-of-state warrant, the defendant's information including fingerprints is sent to the out-of-state agency. Local officials must wait on verification.

ABC Action News is waiting on specific details from the sheriff's office regarding how this situation occurred. We also reached out to NYPD. We have not heard back.

"They left me puzzled. They left me without any explanation. No answers to my questions." said Smith.