Customs Agents, Local Doctor Subject 18-Year-Old To Vaginal, Rectal Probing In Search Of Nonexistent Drugs
from the CBP-demands-development-of-additional-orifices-to-violate dept
The Constitution-free buffer zone near our nation’s borders ensures those who wander too far away from the center of our country will be robbed of their rights, thanks to ongoing wars vs. drugs and terrorism. They may also be robbed of their dignity.
There’s apparently very little law enforcement personnel won’t do when in pursuit of drugs. The gloves come off, only to be replaced with other gloves, which are then forcefully inserted into every orifice on a “suspect’s” body. We saw this happen to New Mexico native David Eckert back in 2013. The list of invasions and indignities perpetrated on him by the Deming police and a far-too-compliant “medical professional” is long, ugly and comprehensive.
1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
The police obtained no drugs, but Eckert obtained a $1.6 million settlement.
Perhaps that sort of payoff is in 18-year-old Ashley Cervantes’ future. Cervantes did nothing more than cross the border to eat breakfast in Nogales, Mexico. Upon her return, things went from bad to worse to nightmarish. [via Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica]
The litany of abuses inflicted on her during a 7-hour search for nonexistent drugs mirrors that of Eckert’s. From the lawsuit [PDF]:
The CBP Agent became more aggressive in his questions and accusations. That CBP Agent directed Ashley to follow him to a “detention” room, ostensibly for additional questioning. Over the course of the next few hours, Ashley:
a. was handcuffed to a chair;
b. had a number of CBP K9’s sniff her person (a violation of CBP policy, which prohibits the use of K9’s on a person); and,
c. was taken into a separate room, patted down, and asked to squat so female investigators could visually inspect her.
At no point was Cervantes advised of her Miranda rights, because forget it, Jake, it’s Bordertown. The CBP’s inability to locate the drugs the agent fervently believed Cervantes was smuggling into the country didn’t result in the conclusion of the search. Instead, efforts escalated under the theory that Cervantes was just particularly skilled in the art of concealing drugs.
First, the CBP agent deployed his own questionable medical skills to fill out a “Treatment Authorization Request.” In this Immigration Health Services’ form, the agent “diagnosed” Cervantes as a “potential internal carrier of foreign substances” and ordered up an X-ray. Cervantes was placed in a CBP van and taken to Holy Cross Hospital, where an all-too-willing accomplice was found in the form of Dr. Patrick F. Martinez. Once there, more questionable paperwork was completed by those involved.
The Holy Cross records from Ashley’s time at the facility include a number of factual inaccuracies, including inaccurately setting out that Ashley was accompanied by her mother and arrived in a private vehicle. In reality, Ashley was transported in a CBP vehicle. Her handcuffs were not removed until she changed into a hospital gown for the alleged purpose of undergoing an X-Ray.
Cervantes never underwent an X-ray. Instead, she underwent a series of non-consensual penetrations — something most people refer to as “rape.”
Dr. Martinez, a male physician, entered Ashley’s room and, after asking a few cursory questions, brutally invaded her body on a warrantless and unjustified search for contraband.
Dr. Martinez forcefully and digitally probed Ashley’s vagina and anus.
Ashley had never before been to a gynecologist and, for the remainder of her life, will always remember that her first pelvic and rectal exams were under the most inhumane circumstances imaginable to a U.S. citizen at a hospital on U.S. soil.
The searches conducted by the CBP Agents, Holy Cross and Dr. Martinez injured Ashley physically, mentally and emotionally. Her labia, vaginal opening, and anus were left raw and sore and she felt violated, demeaned and powerless as a result of the searches.
Seven hours. No drugs. Multiple penetrations. No warrants. No consent. And all of this will likely be OK — or at least not enough to leap the “qualified immunity” hurdle.
The courts have frequently held that the Fourth Amendment is nothing to get too concerned about near our nation’s borders, what with drugs and terrorism on the loose. If the courts find it acceptable for the CBP to seize laptops and other devices and search them without a warrant, it stands to reason they’ll probably find seizing and searching the lower half of a human being without probable cause to be just one of those things that happen in service of the public’s “best interest.”