The Drug War, the Fourth Amendment, and Anal Cavity Searches in New Mexico


"The Drug War, the Fourth Amendment, and Anal Cavity Searches in New Mexico," produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning. 8 minutes.

Original release date was July 29, 2014. Original writeup is below.

On July 28, 2014, Reason TV released "Do You Have It Up Your Ass?": Drug Warriors in New Mexico Go Too Far. Incorporating footage from cameras on the dashboards and lapels of New Mexico law enforcement officers, the program tells the story of Timothy Young, a man who was pulled over in Lordsburg, New Mexico, for a traffic violation in October 2012.

Hidalgo County deputies looking for drugs searched Young's truck for more than two hours. After a K9 deputy claimed that his dog Leo alerted on the driver's seat of Young's truck, deputies obtained a search warrant to search Young's body. Deputies then drove Young to the Gila Regional Medical Center, located an hour north in Silver City, New Mexico. Young was X-rayed and, while still in handcuffs, subjected to a digital search of his anal cavity. No drugs were found.

There is more to the story, however. Just three months after the Young incident, David Eckert was pulled over in front of a Walmart for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign in Deming, a small town about an hour east of Lordsburg. Eckert was about to begin a 14-hour ordeal. Once again, law enforcement officers called in the dog, Leo, and once again his trainer claimed that the dog alerted on the driver's seat.

Deputies obtained a warrant and brought Eckert to the hospital in Deming, New Mexico, where a doctor refused to conduct an anal cavity search, calling it unethical. Undeterred, deputies drove Eckert an hour north to another hospital, where doctors had agreed to search Young's anal cavity. While at the Gila Regional Medical Center, Eckert was X-rayed, digitally probed, forced to endure several enemas, and ultimately put under and given a colonoscopy without his consent. Once again, no drugs were found.

Young and Eckert sued all the parties involved. So far, Young has been awarded $925,000 from Hidalgo County, and Eckert has been awarded $1.6 million from Hidalgo County and the city of Deming.

Approximately 8 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.