CBP responds to woman's claims of unnecessary probe
POSTED: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 7:31am
UPDATED: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 10:47pm
EL PASO (KTSM) — A New Mexico woman was crossing through a port of entry from Juarez to El Paso when she said Customs and Border Protection agents and doctors violated her. We first want to warn you, some of this content may be disturbing.
The woman in her 50s, said she was crossing into El Paso after visiting a friend in Juarez last December, when dogs alerted CBP agents she may have had drugs.
"They asked her to undress, to spread her genitalia, and to cough. They also pressed their fingers into her vagina looking for drugs," said Laura Schaur Ives with The New Mexico Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union.
But agents didn't find any drugs, and that's when she said they took her to University Medical Center.
"Staff and border patrol observed her bowel movement and no drugs were found at that point," said Schaur Ives.
The woman said doctors and agents performed X-Rays and a cavity search.
"They probed her vagina and they probed her anus. They describe it in the medical records as bi-manual. Two handed. They didn't find anything doing that," said Schaur Ives.
Finally, she said doctors did a cat scan, but still did not find narcotics.
"It didn't matter that they were doctors, or agents doing this to her because she actually wasn't doing anything wrong and she felt sexually assaulted," said Schaur Ives.
The woman said agents did not obtain a search warrant and she didn't give her consent.
Now, the woman, who does not want to be identified, is working with the ACLU.
It will file a complaint against CBP and UMC in the case they said "clearly goes too far."
"I think that this case definitely demonstrated the need for immediate oversight of border patrol and law enforcement and limits," said Schaur Ives.
Doug Mosier, spokesperson for CBP said he cannot comment on the specific case because they have not seen a copy of the report.
"We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off-duty," said Mosier.
The woman said she was even billed $6,000 for the procedures.
The ACLU said it will file their complaint in the next month.