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Cop Mistook Lindsay's Cocaine for Breath Mint

6/30/2010 10:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Now we know why Lindsay Lohan's 2007 DUI case may have plea bargained so quickly -- the cop who took custody of the cocaine mistook it for a breath mint and threw it in the trash.

0630_lilo_clinique_card

Pretty incredible, but according to the Santa Monica Police report -- obtained by TMZ -- the officer "discovered a folded Clinique sun care card with an unknown substance caked on to the surface of the card in Lohan's right rear pocket."

The report goes on:  "Some of the white substance fell to the floor.  I used my foot to see what had fell but thought nothing of it.  I did not recognize the substance attached to the card and initially thought the substance was a wet crushed breath mint."

And now it gets good:  "I put the card into the jail trash can next to the booking windows.  I was looking at the floor and began to recognize the substance as resembling powder cocaine.   I then recovered the card from the trash."

The cop says the coke was in the trash for about 2 minutes.  He put the card in an evidence envelope, then scooped up the coke that had fallen to the floor and placed it in a separate evidence envelope.

In short -- EVIDENCE CONTAMINATION!!!

Lindsay ended up with a sweet deal and spent 84 minutes in jail ... for a drunken, cocaine-fueled chase on Pacific Coast Highway.  Nice deal if you can get it.



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