LORDSBURG, NM — An innocent man was tormented for hours by a New Mexican “Border Drug Task Force” that forced him to strip naked in a parking lot, then subsequently endure unwanted X-rays and a forced anal penetration exam in a hospital. After no drugs were found anywhere in his truck or body cavities, he was sent a bill for the “services.”
The Boder Drug Task Force is a detail of local enforcers from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico. On the evening of October 13th, 2012, the unit targeted a man for a petty traffic violation. The target, a husband and father of 2 children who lives in Deming, would have never expected the humiliation that he was about to suffer for the remainder of his evening.
Turn Signal Violation
At approximately 9:42 p.m. that evening, Timothy Young pulled his truck into a “Flying J” gas station in Lordsburg to purchase gasoline. As he parked next to a gas pump, Hidalgo County Deputy Javier Peru rolled in behind him and turned on his emergency lights. Mr. Young was soon told that he had allegedly turned into the gas station without using a blinker.
The conversation quickly strayed from turn signals and toward the actual reason for the stop — enforcing prohibition laws.
Deputy Peru discovered that Mr. Young’s passenger had been sipping an alcoholic beverage in the passenger seat. Even though the passenger was not operating a vehicle, this is considered a crime, and was used as a pretext for further police action. Police then began to insinuate that Mr. Young was hiding drugs and requested to search his truck.
Having nothing to hide, Mr. Young gave consent, believing this would be easier and work out in his favor. He was sorely mistaken. More deputies had arrived, and the vehicle search lasted for “2 to 2.5 hours.”
“Just keep looking,” Deputy David Arredondo encouraged, as he and another rummaged through Mr. Young’s truck. “Tear it up.”
Deputy Patrick Green arrived with the K-9 named “Leo” and proceeded to let the dog sniff through the truck. Although finding nothing, Deputy Green claimed the dog signaled in multiple places.
“Do you have it up your ass?”
During the lengthy search, Deputy Peru described in the police report that Mr. Young was nervous, had shaking legs, was “jittery,” licked his lips, and took his hat off and replaced it. Mr. Young’s jitters were used as official police justification to obtain a search warrant to examine the contents of his intestines.
The drug enforcers’ perverse intentions were first revealed as Deputy Patrick Green interrogated Mr. Young in the parking lot. The conversations were recorded using dash-cam and lapel-camera recording units.
DEPUTY GREEN: “Do you have it up your ass?”
TIM YOUNG: “Do I have it up my— what the f*** kind of question is that?!”
DEPUTY GREEN: “Its an honest question.”
TIM YOUNG: “Have what up my ass??”
DEPUTY GREEN: “Do you have drugs in your ass?”
TIM YOUNG: “Are you trying to be a faggot with me or what?”
DEPUTY GREEN: “Do you have drugs in your ass?”
TIM YOUNG: “Do you have some in your ass?”
Deputies proceeded to strip-search Mr. Young in the parking lot of the gas station.
“I agreed to the dropping of the pants — with the boxers up,” Mr. Young said in an interview with Reason TV. “They did more than that. He made it sound like I was going to go home — he was going to release me — you know, if I would just pull down my boxers as well.”
At that point Mr. Young said he had withdrawn his consent and was acting under coercion of the police. “I did [pull down my underpants]. I didn’t want to, but I did.”
Mr. Young then learned that his humiliation was far from over. As his truck was towed away, was grilled further about having drugs.
DEPUTY GREEN: “Do you have any cocaine?”
TIM YOUNG: “No. I don’t have–”
DEPUTY GREEN: ”Do you have any heroin?”
TIM YOUNG: “They just looked at my dick and my ass and everything. I mean, I don’t have nothing, I’m being as serious as I can be.”
DEPUTY GREEN: ”Here’s what’s gonna happen, OK? We’re gonna do a search warrant on your truck, and then we’re gonna do a search warrant on you. Cuz here’s what I believe –”
TIM YOUNG: “Excuse me? You’re gonna do a search warrant on me??”
Later, Deputy Green confirmed what the ominous threat would entail:
DEPUTY GREEN: “So this is what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna take you to the hospital and we’re gonna do the X-rays, and then they’re gonna strip search you, OK?”
Forced Cavity Search
Deputies Peru and Green loaded up Mr. Young and transported to the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, New Mexico — outside their own jurisdiction of Hidalgo County, where the warrant was obtained. Mr. Young was left in handcuffs for the entire trip, which lasted one hour.
By the time he arrived at the hospital, it was 2:58 a.m. on October 14th.
Mr. Young says that he received forced X-rays through his stomach and more X-rays through his pelvic area, which turned up nothing. But the deputies were still not satisfied.
“They took me back to the ER, officers present. They said they were going to do an anal finger exam,” Mr. Young described to Reason TV. “As soon as he penetrated, they laughed.”
None of the searches — vehicle, clothing, or anus — produced any contraband. Mr. Young was completely innocent. Deputies had no choice but to release Mr. Young, but not before making him sit in handcuffs for an additional hour drive on the way back to Hidalgo County.
Weeks later, Mr. Young received a bill for $614 in the mail from the Gila Regional Medical Center, charging him for the forced anal search.
“I laughed,” Mr. Young said in an interview. “I mean, that’s all I could do is laugh. I wanted to cry, but I just laugh.”
Young proceeded to seek legal counsel and sued the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department as well as the three deputies responsible for his rights being violated. His lawsuit alleged violations of his civil rights. (Young v. Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, et al)
Deputies officially admitted that Mr. Young had been transported to Gila Regional Medical Center and was X-rayed and digitally penetrated. However, they denied that these were “unreasonable” search procedures.
“If I would have done that to somebody else, do you think I’d be held accountable?” Mr. Young asked, rhetorically. “You’re darn right I’d be held accountable. I would have a rape charge, sitting in jail right now.”
Mr. Young is not wrong. The U.S. Department of Justice uses a definition makes this a very clear case of rape. But somehow a piece of paper signed (electronically) by a judge makes it a “legal” and acceptable practice, in which officers and doctors are apparently immune from criminal punishment.
Rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Mr. Young ultimately received $925,000 from Hidalgo County in the settlement of his lawsuit. But, as usual, the taxpayers were the only ones who paid the price for the official misdeeds of government agents — none of whom faced any discipline or criminal charges. Deputies Patrick Green, Javier Peru, David Arredondo suffered no consequences.
Remarkably, Deputies Green and Arredondo were both named in another lawsuit for doing virtually the same thing to another innocent man. The unlicensed K-9 named “Leo” provided false hits on a man who was stopped for a petty traffic violation. Subsequently he was subjected to an extensive, humiliating 14-hour anal rape session, including anal finger probes, forced defecation, involuntary X-rays, and a full colonoscopy — which also took place at Gila Regional Medical Center.
Reason TV provided an interview with Mr. Young:
Demand that the deputies and hospital staff associated with the searches of both Tim Young and David Eckert be fired and stricken from their professions.
Named in the lawsuit: Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Javier Peru and Patrick Green.