Court Backs Police Search Method: Laxatives

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Swallowing dope or other contraband won't hide it anymore.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that Milwaukee police officers were justified in using laxatives to search a man who had swallowed a bag of heroin during a 2002 drug bust. The decision found that police did not violate Tomas Payano-Roman's constitutional rights against unreasonable search by forcing him to drink a laxative called GoLytely every 20 to 30 minutes until the drugs came out.

In its 5 to 2 decision, the court said the laxative use was acceptable because it was carried out under medical supervision and met dual medical-treatment and evidence-gathering purposes. Dissenting, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson said the evidence should not have been allowed since police didn't get a search warrant.

Officers saw Payano-Roman swallow the bag as they approached him. He pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

"Drug investigations are tough," said Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. "Drug suspects, drug dealers will go to great length to escape detection. When someone swallows the evidence, which is not an easy thing to do, the fact that the stuff was taken using a laxative should give the drug world something to think about."

-- Kari Lydersen

Letter From Yale Offers Skull and Bones Clue

The letter is beige-colored and nearly 90 years old, and bears the address of a Yale University dormitory. When historian and writer Marc Wortman stumbled on it in the university's vast archives, one word in the third paragraph stood out: Geronimo.

"The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill . . . is now safe inside the T-- together with his well-worn femurs," said the letter, written in June 1918 from one member of Yale's secret Skull and Bones club to another.

The letter, first reported in Wortman's new book, "The Millionaires' Unit," about Yalies who became pilots in World War I, is a tantalizing clue in one of the strangest mysteries associated with the club, whose members reportedly include President Bush, his father and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

For years, it was rumored that "Bonesmen" who had gone to Oklahoma's Fort Sill for artillery training had robbed the grave of the legendary Apache leader there and brought some of his bones back to the club's "Tomb" (the "T--" in the letter, according to Wortman).

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