(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) –– In an unusual case of mistaken identity, a woman who thought a block of white cheese was cocaine is charged with trying to hire a hit man to rob and kill four men. The woman also was mistaken about the hit man. He turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Jessica Sandy Booth, 18, was arrested over the weekend and remains in jail with bond set at $1 million on four charges of attempted murder and four counts of soliciting a murder.
According to police, Booth was in the Memphis home of the four intended victims last week when she mistook a block of queso fresco cheese for cocaine — inspiring the idea to hire someone to break into the home, take the drugs, and kill the men.
An informant described the plot to police, who arranged a meeting between Booth and the undercover officer.
The undercover officer gave Booth some nonfunctioning handguns, bought ammunition for her because she was too young, and the two proceeded to the home under police surveillance.
Booth told the officer that any children inside the house old enough to testify would have to be killed, police said.
A search of the home with the permission of the occupants revealed no drugs — only the white, crumbly cheese common in Mexican cuisine.
"Four men were going to lose their lives over some cheese," said Lt. Jeff Clark, who heads Project Safe Neighborhoods.