David Eckert was stopped by police in Deming, New Mexico without cause, subjected to an illegal search of his vehicle and person, and eventually forced to undergo what amounts to object rape in the form of multiple rectal probes, forced enemas, and a colonoscopy.
The purported reason for this treatment was suspicion of narcotics possession. A more credible explanation is that the police wanted to punish Eckert for politely asserting his rights during an encounter a few weeks earlier.
There is something at once infuriating and appropriate about the treatment inflicted on Eckert: If the beast called the Homeland Security State has a cloacal tract, its aperture might very well be located in Deming, New Mexico. The uniformed degenerates who kidnapped Eckert and subjected him to Gitmo-trade torture claimed to be working with a federally supervised narcotics task force. This part of their story is entirely plausible, given the extravagant and impenitent corruption that typifies federal counter-narcotics operations in the New Mexico border region.
On September 6, 2012, Eckert was stopped a few blocks from his home in Lordsburg by Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Rodriguez, who claimed to have noticed a cracked windshield on Eckert’s car. When Rodriguez noticed that Eckert appeared nervous, he ordered the man out of his car. The deputy wrote a warning citation and then told Eckert he was free to leave. As Eckert turned to leave, the deputy – employing a tiresome and familiar tactic – continued to question him.
Eckert politely asked if he was free to leave, as he had been told. Feigning offense, the deputy claimed that this was “rude” and said that he suspected Eckert had narcotics in his vehicle. Eckert said that he wasn’t interested in speaking with the deputy, and once again tried to leave. The deputy then seized the vehicle without probable cause and called Deputy Patrick Green, who deployed a drug-sniffing dog. The canine – as he was trained and expected to – “alerted” to the supposed presence of narcotics in the vehicle. A thorough search the following day failed to find any drug-related evidence.
However, to paraphrase the warning given to Dr. Zhivago by a Soviet Commissar, Eckert’s attitude had been noticed.
On January 2, as he was leaving the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Deming, Eckert was stopped by Officer Robert Chavez for supposedly failing to come to a complete stop. Chavez did not witness the alleged infraction; he claimed to be acting on a report from a fellow Deming PD denizen named Bobby Orosco. Chavez ordered Eckert from the car and subjected him to a physical pat-down without probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
The assailant found Eckert’s reaction to this criminal violation of his person to be suspicious: He claimed that the victim’s posture was “erect and he kept his legs together.”
After several other officers arrived – in response, once again, to an alleged traffic violation – Chavez wrote an extortion note (typically referred to as a “traffic citation”) and the victim was told he was free to leave. This was a reprise of the tactic used in the previous traffic stop: Chavez continued to pester Eckert, who continued to assert his right to leave unmolested.
Chavez is a police officer, which means he is trained to lie, given social permission to lie, and will lie whenever it suits him. In his report he stated that Eckert gave consent for a search of his vehicle, which was untrue. While a drug-sniffing dog pawed through his car, Eckert was surrounded by police officers, two of whom – Hidalgo County Deputies David Arrendondo and Patrick Green – were acting as members of the Border Drug Task Force.
Arrendondo told Officer Chavez that Eckert was “known in Hidalgo County to insert drugs into his anal cavity.” On the basis of what was either unsubstantiated gossip or a lie invented on the scene, Eckert was abducted and taken to the police station. When he demanded the right to make a phone call, Eckert was told he was not under arrest. His car was seized and searched – and, once again, no narcotics evidence was found.
A few hours after Eckert was seized by the Deming Police, Luna County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty obtained a warrant permitting officers to conduct a body cavity search. That warrant was valid only for the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 PM on January 2nd.
When Eckert’s abductors took him to a local emergency room, the attending physician, identified in Eckert’s lawsuit only as “Dr. Ash,” politely but firmly told the officers that what they were demanding was illegal and unethical. The kidnappers shrugged and, with the consent of prosecutor Dougherty, drove the victim to another hospital in a different jurisdiction – Gila Regional Medical Center in Grant County.
Over the next 24 hours, Eckert endured an abdominal X-ray, multiple digital rectal inspections, three enemas, and a colonoscopy. None of these assaults on Eckert’s bodily integrity yielded drug-related evidence of any kind – and if they had, that evidence almost certainly would have been inadmissible. Procuring evidence wasn’t the point of this exercise; the primary objective was to punish an impudent Mundane.
All of those procedures took place outside the jurisdiction specified in the warrant; all but the abdominal X-ray were entirely unauthorized and took place after the time limit imposed in the warrant. More importantly, none of this was valid or licit in any sense: As Dr. Ash pointed out, subjecting an unwilling “patient” to invasive procedures was illegal and unethical.
Like their colleagues in the CIA – who enlisted physicians to collaborate in abuse of detainees at Gitmo — the officers in the Border Drug Task Force were able to suborn doctors into violating the law and their Hippocratic obligations in order to torture an innocent man.
On his way home from the hospital, Eckert had to endure the contemptuous mockery of his captors. The abuse has continued in the intervening months, as the hospital administrators have demanded that the victim pay for the privilege of being tortured on the orders of the police.
“We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place,” recited Deming Police Commissar Brandon Gigante when he was asked by a local television reporter about the sexual torture committed by his officers against David Eckert. Indeed, judicially authorized object rape has become a familiar weapon in the Homeland Security State’s arsenal.
What prompted police in the New Mexico border area to focus their sadistic attention on David Eckert? The irrepressible desire to punish a Mundane for “contempt of cop” plays a significant role in this abhorrent episode, to be sure. However, the lengths to which Eckert’s tormentors went to invent a rationale for a drug investigation reflect the fact that drug prohibition is a hugely lucrative racket for the corrupt functionaries who afflict New Mexico’s border region.
Deming, a city of about 14,000 people, hosts the headquarters of the New Mexico branch of the Homeland Security Investigations agency, which works hand-in-mailed fist with the New Mexico Border Operations High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA). The HIDTA receives at least $8,000,000 a year in federal funding to conduct “counter-narcotics” operations. Many of those initiatives involve “controlled buys” and other sting operations – and none of which does anything to abate drug trafficking in any way.
Like other federal entities of its kind, the HIDTA is a public works project for profligate sociopaths. Christopher DeSantis, who was employed as an agent of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in Deming from 2001-2007, has described to Narco News how fellow agents in the HIDTA routinely divert tax funds and asset proceeds into “training” junkets to bars and strip clubs in Vegas, or on unauthorized perks and personal benefits.
“They didn’t give a sh*t,” DeSantis recalls. “They just wanted to use up the money because the fiscal year was ending.”
An internal audit conducted by the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that HIDTA funds were improperly used, and that official records were altered “to disguise how the funds were ultimately used.”
Arguably the most serious finding in that audit was that “Confidential informants were improperly paid multiple times for the same information, service, or evidence by using alternate funding sources.”
According to DeSantis, “it was common practice for the task force leadership to double count drug seizures,” reports the Narco News. One of the ways it padded its statistics was to use a specific informant – identified as “SA-163” – to make controlled heroin buys each week, “like clockwork.”
“We would meet someone who was bringing the drugs across the border, and we made the purchases in a parking lot or hotel,” DeSantis attests. “Most of the time, we were just buying the drugs, and every once in a while, we would arrest a [low-level] mule.”
Informant SA-163, as it turned out, “was getting paid by law enforcement and getting street value for his drugs with no risk,” continues DeSantis. The drug dealer enjoyed protected profits, in addition to pay-offs drawn from multiple federal funding sources. His collaborators in the HIDTA were inflating their statistics and building career security – and embezzling federal funds to pay for drinking binges at “training” seminars.
DeSantis blew the whistle, and was promptly fired. The HIDTA continues to be a subsidized blight on New Mexico’s border region, where it helps cultivate a law enforcement culture in which sexual torture of an innocent man is regarded as an appropriate “protocol.”
Reprinted from LRC with permission.