Search tactics employed by Border Patrol agents and medical professionals in New Mexico amounted to “sexual assault” and “molestation,” media sites and civil liberties groups are alleging.
InfoWars, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and an Albuquerque TV station say at least three women have come forward with some disturbing allegations against US Customs and Border Protection.
“It’s terrifying,” ACLU attorney Laura Schauer Ives said of the incidents. Ives is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of one of the women. None of the women were identified.
If their claims are true, the Border Patrol is systematically violating the rights of citizens crossing the US-Mexico border. Worse, recent incidents reveal a disturbing new trend in New Mexico: Law enforcement is systematically using medical professionals to search individuals and violate their rights.
Some of the terrifying allegations against the Border Patrol include:
- Agents strip searched, vaginally probed and X-rayed a woman without a warrant in a search for drugs.
- The woman was only stopped because a drug sniffing dog smelled narcotics on the woman. No drugs were found, though.
- The woman was taken to the University Medical Center in El Paso against her will.
- Hospital staff forced the woman to have a bowl movement and then watched her have it.
- Hospital staff probed or groped the woman’s vagina and anus in a search for drugs. This constitutes sexual assault, Ives alleged.
The hospital staff members were not law enforcement agents and had no legal right to conduct the search, the ACLU says.
The Border Patrol has refused to comment about Ives’ allegations.
“I think law enforcement has been emboldened, particularly when it comes to drug addiction,” Ives said. “It’s kind of anything goes. You couple that with drug interdiction at the border and you have a recipe for serious civil liberties violations.”
Not the only incident
The border patrol isn’t the only law enforcement agency in New Mexico accused of using such tactics. As reported by Off The Grid News, a man named David Eckert claims he was subjected to similar abuse after a routine traffic stop in Deming, New Mexico, on January 2, 2013. Like the unidentified woman in El Paso, Eckert alleges that medical professionals systematically violated his rights in a search for drugs.
Eckert’s allegations against the Deming Police and the Gila Regional Medical Center include:
- Doctors penetrated his anus and gave him an enema in an attempt to see if he had drugs hidden in his body. The procedures were repeated at least three times.
- Eckert was forced to defecate in front of police officers and doctors.
- Eckert was X-rayed against his will.
- Doctors performed a colonoscopy, a medical procedure in which a camera on a long tube was inserted into his anus and used to take pictures of his rectum, colon and long intestine.
- Eckert was sedated against his will during the procedure.
- Police had a warrant to search Eckert but the warrant had actually expired when many of the procedures were carried out, Eckert’s attorney alleged.
- The warrant did not authorize police to conduct a colonoscopy or an enema, the attorney said. No drugs were found.
- Eckert later received a bill for the procedures from the Gila Regional Medical Center.
“This is like something out of a science fiction film,” Kennedy said, “anal probing by government officials and public employees.”
Eckert is now suing three police officers, three sheriff’s deputies, three doctors, the city of Deming, the Hidalgo County District Attorney, the Gila Regional Medical Center and Border Patrol.
If these allegations are true, they represent a serious breach of medical ethics as well as civil liberties. Turning doctors and nurses into agents of the police undermines trust in the medical profession and violates doctor-patient privilege.