Woman, 19, sues U.S. over anal and vaginal search for which she was billed $575

Ashley Cervantes, a US citizen who was 18 at the time, was stopped at the Mexico border and accused by Customs and Border Protection of smuggling drugs. A search proved fruitless so they gave her a body cavity search. US Customs and Border Protection still couldn't find the drugs they were looking for so they took her to a hospital for an X-ray. No drugs.

She was released after 7 hours and given a bill for $575 for the "treatment."

Arizona Capitol Times:

Attorney Brian Marchetti said they accused the woman, 18 at the time, of possessing drugs. When she denied that was true, they took her into a detention room where, during the next several hours, she was handcuffed to a chair, had several dogs sniff her, and eventually taken into a separate room where she was patted down and asked to squat so female investigators could visually inspect her.

All that, said Marchetti, occurred without her consent or a warrant. In fact, he said, a request to call her mother was denied.

It was what happened next that Marchetti charges clearly violated his client’s rights.

He said an agent of Customs and Border Protection signed a “Treatment

Authorization Request” to have her taken to a medical facility as an alleged “potential internal carrier of foreign substance.” That form, he said, requested an X-ray.

Instead, Marchetti said Cervantes was taken in handcuffs to Holy Cross Hospital where the doctor probed her anus and vagina.

Neither the hospital nor Customs and Border Protection would agree to speak with Arizona Capitol Times.

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