Cops Seized a Bag of Human Remains Because They Thought It Was Heroin

In some kind of 'Nathan for You' episode come to life.
Photo via Emilija Randjelovic/Getty

These days, you don't have to settle for a boring-ass urn if you're looking for a spot to store the remains of some recently deceased loved one. There are companies that can sew those ashes into a teddy bear, 3D print a terrifying bust for you to keep them in, or blast them into space so your grandfather can finally become one with the stars or whatever. Of course, those options can all get pretty costly, so if you're looking for a more budget-conscious option, you can always just cram the ashes in a Ziploc bag and call it good.


But if you're going to go down that route, be warned—the cops might end up mistaking them for something a little more illicit. At least that's what happened to a Maine man last Saturday, after police discovered a bag of his late father's ashes in his glove compartment and assumed it was heroin. It's basically exactly what Nathan Fielder pretended happened to him on that big suit episode of Nathan for You, except these cops weren't hired to just read some lines.

According to the Kennebec Journal, Kevin Curtis lent his car to a friend last Saturday so the guy could run a few errands. Curtis apparently didn't tell his buddy that the car was also transporting about 48 grams of his dad, which he'd recently picked up from his sister and was keeping in the glove box until he got an urn.

On the way to the store, Curtis's friend reportedly lost control of the wheel and crashed the car into a telephone pole. When police responded to the accident, they discovered the baggies of what they thought was heroin, assumed the driver had overdosed, gave the guy a shot of Narcan, and arrested him, seizing the bags as evidence.

"[My] kids were really mad when they found out that [the police] took Grandpa, but I tried to make a joke of it," he told the Kennebec Journal. "I said, ‘This is the first time he’s ever been in lockup and we’ll just get him out.'"

It took days for Curtis to convince the police that the heroin in his car was actually just a baggie of his old man. He waited all weekend and into the following week, until finally, on Tuesday, cops got the results of a drug test and realized that Curtis was telling the truth. Kennebec sheriff Ken Mason told the Journal on Tuesday that, yes, the suspected heroin was in fact "human remains," though having a couple Ziplocs full of ashes in your car is "a rather unusual manner in which to keep the remains of a loved one, for sure."

“This was the first time my father was ever in lockup right here, and it took me forever to get him out of it," Curtis said to the Journal. At least now he's got a really good anecdote in case he ever winds up on a talk show.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow VICE on Twitter.