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NM woman comes forward with illegal probing claims

Created: 11/07/2013 10:29 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It may be hard to believe that this could happen to yet another New Mexican. KOB's 4 On Your Side team found a woman who claims she was violated by federal agents and doctors.

Laura Schaur Ives, Legal Director for the New Mexico Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, is representing the woman.

Schaur Ives said the woman doesn't wish to be identified because she considers herself to be a victim of sexual assault. Schaur Ives said the woman crossed the border at a Port of Entry from Juarez, Mexico into El Paso.

A dog alerted to the woman, and Schaur Ives said federal agents stripped searched her at the facility, asked her to undress, to spread her genitalia and to cough. Female agents also allegedly pressed their fingers into her vagina looking for drugs.

The woman claims they didn't discover anything during the on-site strip search, so they took her to University Medical Center of El Paso. 

"First, medical staff observed her making a bowl movement and no drugs were found at that point," Schaur Ives said. "They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual--two handed. Finally, they did a cat scan. Again, they found nothing."

The ACLU claims the federal agents never secured a search warrant before probing or touching the woman.

"And her medical records indicate that she refused consent," Shaur Ives said. 

Doug Mosier, spokesman for Customs and Border Patrol, issued the following statement:

"CBP cannot verify information relative to these ACLU allegations since we have not seen a copy of the report, nor have we been provided necessary details in order to investigate. CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. 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."


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