msnbc.com news services
updated 9/6/2011 7:23:07 PM ET 2011-09-06T23:23:07

Should a drug suspect have to pay the bill for undergoing a court-ordered cavity search that finds nothing?

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No, says a New Mexico woman who wants Doña Ana County officials to pay the $1,122 hospital bill she received after undergoing such a search on suspicion she was hiding heroin, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

The woman's identity was not being released.

Her lawyer, Michael Lilley of Las Cruces, filed a claim Aug. 30 against the county to justify her demand that authorities pay for her forcible body cavity search, according to the newspaper. Here's what happened, the newspaper said:

  • The Metro Narcotics Agency had "credible information from a reliable source" that the woman had concealed up to an ounce of heroin, which led to a search warrant on July 1, said Metro Sgt. Mike Alba.
  • The woman was searched at Memorial Medical Center, which then billed her for $1,122.
  • No heroin or any other narcotic was recovered from the exam.
  • The woman was not arrested or charged.
  • The woman had no criminal history in New Mexico.

County officials would not comment on a pending lawsuit, the newspaper reported.

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