Woman Gets $5K Bill After Cavity Searches for Drugs

Those searches turned up no sign of drugs, by the way
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2013 12:42 PM CST

(Newser) – A 54-year-old New Mexico woman is suing US customs and a hospital after an escalating series of drug searches that took six hours and yielded no sign of drugs—only a $5,000 hospital bill for her trouble. Some details, as rounded up by Raw Story, Reason, and the AP:

  • The unidentified woman got stopped returning from Mexico at the El Paso border crossing, when a drug-sniffing dog got agitated. She underwent a strip-search and cavity searches, according to her lawsuit. Agents didn't even shut the door, it adds.

  • When those turned up nothing, she got taken to the University Medical Center of El Paso, where doctors gave her laxatives and observed a bowel movement. Still no sign of drugs.
  • After that, she got X-rayed and then underwent a CT scan, at which point authorities released her without charges. The medical center later sent her a $5,000 bill for its tests.
The ACLU has taken up the case, and its complaint is here. "The failed drug war and militarized border region have created an environment in which law enforcement officials increasingly inflict extreme and illegal searches on innocent Americans," says a local legal director for the group. (Read more Customs and Border Protection stories.)

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