Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Up Yours: New Mexico City Sued for Anal Probing

“This is like something out of a science fiction film,” says attorney Shannon Kennedy. “Anal probing by government officials and public employees? It’s absolutely unimaginable that this can happen in America."

Out in New Mexico, they have a weird way of detecting drugs. Twice recently, police have been charged with forcing motorists suspected of possessing illegal substances to take rectal exams.

The case of David Eckert will make you hair stand up. After failing to make a complete stop while leaving a Walmart parking lot in Deming on Jan. 2, 2013, police pulled him over. One of the cops apparently checked out Eckert’s ass as he exited his vehicle and decided that Eckert was “clenching his buttocks.” A trained K-9 dog, named Leo, was brought in to investigate. Leo pinpointed the scent of illegal drugs on Eckert’s car seat. This, along with Eckert’s apparently clenched ass checks, led the cops to conclude Eckert was hiding a big fat stash of illegal drugs deep up inside his butt.

They first took Eckert to Mimbres Memorial Hospital in Deming, where doctors on duty there refused the police's request that they ram his fingers up Eckert’s ass, asserting it was “ethically wrong.” Unfazed, the police then transported Eckert to a second hospital, Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, that not only had no such trouble whatsoever with ethics or morals. Doctors there repeatedly shoved their fingers up Eckert’s ass, and administered three enemas, two X-rays and a colonoscopy, all of which demonstrated fairly conclusively that there were no signs of any drugs inside Eckert, who didn’t consent to any of these procedures.

To add insult to the severely humiliating abuse and torture Eckert suffered, the hospital has billed him and gone so far as to threaten to sic collection agencies on him for non-payment.

Eckert has filed a $10 million suit against the city of Deming, three Deming police officers, three Hidalgo County deputies, deputy district attorney Daniel Doughtery, the Gila Regional Medical Center and two doctors who work there.

On the heels of this disgraceful incident, we hear of yet another story of abuse by New Mexico police. On Oct. 13, 2012, Timothy Young made a turn without using his blinker, giving the cops the reason they to pull him over. Leo, the same dog that sniffed out Eckert, indicated that Young was in possession of drugs. Next thing, Young was at the Gila Center being anally probed and X-rayed. No drugs were found.

“This is like something out of a science fiction film,” says Shannon Kennedy, who’s representing both men. “Anal probing by government officials and public employees? It’s absolutely unimaginable that this can happen in America. The thought that they can do this is terrifying. Our community should be outraged and the public has a right to know about this so they are aware when they’re traveling through that part of our state to be careful, to be on guard.”

Deming is located 33 miles north of Mexico and is 60 miles west of Las Cruces on I-10 in the southwestern part of the state. The area was originally inhabited by the Mimbres Indians. Deming’s current population is 14,000. Several of those people are seeking justice so that police stop abusing their powers. That’s what happens in the increasingly shocking War on Some Drugs.

Preston Peet

Preston Peet

Editor of "Under the Influence, the Disinformation Guide to Drugs," former editor of, and writer of numerous articles around the globe.