LAS CRUCES, N.M — 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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