Last December, a 54-year-old New Mexico woman was crossing a bridge between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso when she was chosen for random “additional screening.” The woman, whose name has not been released, had been in Mexico visiting a friend.
Even though Border Patrol agents had no reason to think the woman might have drugs on her, one officer placed his fingers in the crevice of the woman’s buttocks to search for illegal substances.
The woman was subsequently put in a line of suspects. It was then that an officer hit the ground near her feet, which caused a drug dog to run up to the woman and alert officers of “drugs.” The ACLU, who is representing the woman, claimed the officer hit the ground near the woman on purpose, in order to purposefully prompt the drug dog to run up to her. It is unclear if the dog would have done this if the officer not hit the ground near her feet.
After the dog “alerted” officers, the woman was stripped naked. Her buttocks and vagina were examined using a flashlight.
No drugs were found — but that was not sufficient for the officers.
They then took the woman to the University Medical Center of El Paso, where she was forced to take laxatives. Her bowels were cleared in front of the officers, and again, no drugs were found. Still, that was not sufficient.During the car drive to the hospital, woman allegedly had asked officers if they had a warrant — they told her they didn’t need one.
Next, according to the ACLU’s lawsuit, the woman was forced to undergo an X-ray, more rectal probing, and a pelvic CT scan.
Surprise: no drugs were found.
The lawsuit said, “After the CT scan, a Customs and Border Patrol agent presented Ms. Doe with a choice: she could either sign a medical consent form, despite the fact that she had not consented, in which case CBP would pay for the cost of the searches; or if she refused to sign the consent form, she would be billed for the cost of the searches.”
After enduring these invasive and embarrassing searches, the 54-year-old was sent a $5,000 hospital bill.
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