Marijuana Policy Project

Police Sued for Conducting Roadside Cavity Searches for Marijuana

Texas State Police Perform Cavity Search
Kelley Helleson performs cavity search on Angel Dobbs.

Texas cops violated the rights of two Irving women last July when one performed "intrusive cavity searches" on them for marijuana, the women claim in a suit.

State police pulled over Angel Dobbs, who was driving on Highway 161 in Dallas with her niece Ashley, for littering. Trooper David Farrell said he smelled marijuana in the car.

He called for female backup. The female officer, Kelley Helleson, then executed cavity searches of both of the women on the highway's shoulder without their consent, using the same pair of gloves, they claim. In the video below, Helleson touches the women's breasts, then probes their vaginal and anal areas.

"I was molested, I was violated, I was humiliated in front of other traffic," Angel Dobbs, 38, says. "I had to watch my niece go through the same thing and I could not protect her at that point."

"I didn't know what I could say or what I could do," Ashley Dobbs, 24, adds. "I felt helpless."

Their lawsuit against the the two officers involved was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, in December.

In March, Helleson was indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexual assault and official oppression; she has since been fired by the Department of Public Safety. Farrell was indicted on a separate theft charge (Anegla Dobbs says he took her bottle of prescription medication during the search) and suspended with pay.

On June 28, the Texas Department of Public Safety settled the suit, awarding a total of $185,000 to Angel and Ashley Dobbs.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.