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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Ohlin
United States v. Montoya de Hernandez
Citation:473 U.S. 531 (1985)
Respondent Rosa Montoya de Hernandez was detained by customs officials upon her arrival at the Los Angeles Airport on a flight from Bogota, Colombia. Respondent arrived at Los Angeles International Airport shortly after midnight. At the customs desk, she encountered Customs Inspector Talamantes, who reviewed her documents. The inspector referred respondent to a secondary customs desk for further questioning. Respondent revealed that she spoke no English and had no family or friends in the United States. She explained in Spanish that she had come to the U.S. to purchase goods for her husband’s store in Bogota. The customs inspectors recognized Bogota as a source city for narcotics and suspected that respondent was a “balloon swallower,” one who attempts to smuggle narcotics into this country hidden in her alimentary canal. Respondent withdrew the consent for an x-ray requested by the inspectors. Customs officials attempted to place respondent on a Mexican airline that was flying to Bogota via Mexico City, but the airline refused. Respondent not permitted to leave remained detained in the customs office but refused all offers of food and drink and to use toilets. When the respondent later agreed to get a x-ray, the physician discovered a balloon containing cocaine.
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