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City, county settle New Mexico 'anal probe' suit

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A city and county in southern New Mexico have settled a lawsuit filed by a man taken to two hospitals and subjected to anal probes over suspicion of hiding drugs, the man's lawyer said Monday.

According to attorneys for David Eckert, Hidalgo County and the city of Deming recently settled their portion of a lawsuit for a total of $1.6 million.

The lawsuit, filed against police and sheriff's officials in Deming and Hidalgo County, which borders Mexico, alleges Deming police sought a search warrant for Eckert because they thought he appeared to be clenching his buttocks when he got out of his car in January 2013.

Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies told the Deming police officers Eckert was known in the area for carrying drugs inside his body, the lawsuit said. Police also brought in a drug-sniffing dog, which detected something in the driver's seat.

The lawsuit alleged a host of violations of Eckert's rights, including his being denied the right to make a phone call from the police station, the fact that the search warrant that was filed to search his body was valid only in Luna County but he was taken to a different county after a doctor at the local hospital refused to do the searches, citing ethical violations.

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