A 54-year-old New Mexico woman was seized by U.S. Border Patrol agents and treated like an animal. Subjected to multiple invasive searches, she was practically raped and forced to undergo six hours of invasive body cavity searches and medical exams against her will. The petite lady remembers vividly being ordered to “take off her pants and crouch as her anus and vagina were examined with a flashlight.”
A normal day turns into a cruel and humiliating six-hour drug search, as woman’s vagina and anus are probed raw
While crossing Mexico’s El Paso Cordova Bridge on December 8, 2012, a “drug sniffing dog jumped on her.” Two Customs and Border Protection agents quickly responded, arresting the lady. What they did next was downright disturbing and beyond criminal – an infringement of rights and privacy that she will never forget.
Without a warrant and against the woman’s will, the agents took the lady to a private room and searched her further for contraband. They then invasively examined her anus and vagina with a flashlight. In their sadistic search for contraband, they touched her in private places, dismembering her privacy. After finding no contraband, the agents decided to put her back in handcuffs and take her to the University Medical Center of El Paso.
The lawsuit reads, “During the car ride to the Medical Center, the lady asked if the agents had a warrant. One of them responded that they did not need a warrant.”
Upon arriving at the hospital, two doctors joined the sadistic search, as multiple invasive medical exams were ordered without her consent.
In the court statement, “the agents watched as a doctor forced a speculum up her vagina to see her insides, stuck his fingers up her vagina while pressing on her abdomen, and put his fingers in her rectum.”
The four of them were now working together, forcing the woman to suffer extensive body cavity searches and medical exams.
Afraid for her life, she was then handcuffed to an examination table, where “she was given a laxative and had a bowel movement in a portable toilet in front of both officers,” the lawsuit said.
As degraded as she was, the search for contraband was not over. After being humiliated and probed in front of agents and medical staff, they then ordered an X-ray of her stomach.
When the X-ray found no drugs, a CT scan was ordered. When the CT scan came back negative, the border patrol agents relinquished.
Agents and medical staff try to trick victim into signing away her rights
Upon realizing their insanity, the officers and medical staff approached the woman and gave her two options, trying to trick her into signing away her rights.
She was told to either sign a medical consent form (a ploy to trap her into surrendering her rights) or decline and pay for the medical probing that she didn’t consent to. If she did sign the consent form, then the border patrol said they would pay for the searches.
But this woman knew what was going on at this point. She did not sign away her rights.
Now the border patrol is billing her $5,000 for the humiliating medical exams that she never consented to. This is like pouring searing hot coals on a burn.
Now she is seeking justice in a court of law.
But even this action can’t release the memory from her mind. She says that, since the ordeal, she can no longer be intimate with her husband. She “stays at home whenever possible,” feeling as if people are staring at her in public.
Represented by attorneys with the ACLU in Houston and New Mexico, the lady seeks to remain anonymous and looks for punitive damages for the heinous civil rights violations.
“These extreme and illegal searches deeply traumatized our client,” ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said in the news release. “The fact that our government treated an innocent 54-year-old woman with such brutality and inhumanity should outrage all Americans. We must ensure that government agents never put another person through a nightmare like this ever again.”
Those who face prosecution now include the El Paso County Hospital District and the board of directors, the University Medical Center of El Paso and the two doctors, Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas. Defendants also include two unidentified border patrol agents and agents Portilla and Herrera.
The U.S. Border Patrol agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not comment on the case.
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