Feds subject drug suspect to vaginal/anal probe, X-ray, CT Scan, without a warrant -- find nothing

The ACLU is representing a New Mexico woman in her fifties who was subjected by federal agents to a two-handed (!) vaginal and anal examination, an involuntary X-ray and CAT scan, and was forced to defecate in front of strangers. The woman was suspected of being in possession of drugs, on the basis of a drug-dog alert at the Juarez/El Paso border-crossing. No drugs were found. The federal agents -- it's not clear what agency they were with -- did not obtain a warrant. The doctors at University Medical Center in El Paso performed the procedures without the victim's consent, including the CT scan, which subjects people to a high dose of potentially harmful radiation.

The ACLU of New Mexico is certainly developing some deep expertise on the subject of involuntary, drug-war anal probes: see this earlier story by Mark.

A dog alerted to the woman, and Schaur Ives said federal agents stripped searched her at the facility, asked her to undress, to spread her genitalia and to cough. Female agents also allegedly pressed their fingers into her vagina looking for drugs.

The woman claims they didn't discover anything during the on-site strip search, so they took her to University Medical Center of El Paso.

"First, medical staff observed her making a bowl movement and no drugs were found at that point," Schaur Ives said. "They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual--two handed. Finally, they did a cat scan. Again, they found nothing."

The ACLU claims the federal agents never secured a search warrant before probing or touching the woman.

"And her medical records indicate that she refused consent," Shaur Ives said.

NM woman comes forward with illegal probing claims [Chris Ramirez/KOB]

(via Reddit)

Notable Replies

  1. wygit says:

    Why is it when a civilian does it, it's rape, (or "rape by instrumentation"), but if cops do it, it's "illegal probing"?

  2. we gota ditch dogs and start using those smelling bee's.
    even then. it should stop at an X-ray at most.

    if the x-ray doesnt show shit, you stop there. no need for enemas and digital probing, you're not gona find anything a fucking x-ray missed. Drugs are BIG, heavy, things. Not like cancerous cells or whatever else. it's a plastic hallow container with another container inside of it. you can see that shit in an x-ray for fucks sake

  3. Shooting it out with the DEA? What could possibly go wrong?

  4. "Just Say No" meets "No Means No." Ick.

    If we're really supposed to believe it's possible to fight a War On Drugs then can we at least prosecute abuses like this as war crimes?

  5. I second the general outrage, but there's another thing about this, and the similar case with the man, that really bugs me. It's that the stakes as so incredibly low. Who gives a flying damn about someone who may or may not have drugs stuffed into their orifices? Unless they have the Tardis in there, it's only going to be a small amount. Why do the police seem so driven to humiliate and violate someone on the off chance they have a personal supply of drugs? It's just not proportionate.

    (Which leads me to believe they do it out of pure sadism rather than any sense of law enforcement at all.)

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