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Police: Woman swallows cocaine during drug bust

Members of the Clovis S.W.A.T. team monitor traffic at the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets in Clovis Wednesday after Clovis Police Department issued as search warrant for 701 and 705 Walnut. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth.

A woman who chewed up and swallowed crack cocaine during a Thursday afternoon SWAT team raid on a Clovis house was taken to Plains Regional Medical Center for emergency treatment, according to Clovis police.

Sgt. Jay Longley of the Region Five Drug Task Force said although residue on the woman’s lips tested positive for cocaine, they don’t expect to charge her with a crime immediately.

“If we arrest her today, the county becomes responsible for her medical bills,” Longley said. “We will just wait until she is released from the hospital and obtain a warrant for her at that time.”

The Clovis News Journal is withholding the woman’s name since she has not been charged with a crime. A staff member reached at Plains Regional Medical Center, citing hospital policy, would neither confirm nor deny the patient was admitted to the hospital.

Attempts to obtain the status of her condition was unsuccessful.

Police didn’t immediately notice that the woman had drugs in her mouth when they took her outside following the raid, Longley said. The woman was among about a half-dozen people in two different houses on the 700 block of Walnut who were handcuffed and taken outside while the SWAT team blocked off the street and served a search warrant on the homes.

“It’s not real common to search their mouths; it’s difficult to search a mouth,” Longley said. “She was detained because we didn’t have a female officer on the scene and we were waiting for a female officer to search her. When the female officer arrived, (the officer) realized she had something in her mouth, asked her to spit it out, and she started struggling with the officer and swallowed it after chewing it up.”

Lt. Ron Hutchison said Clovis police didn’t originally plan to use the SWAT team but sent the team to help since the police needed additional manpower.

About a dozen officers responded to the scene and then had to call animal control officers to remove several pit bull dogs found at the homes.

Hutchison said police obtained a search warrant due to suspected drug activity at the homes, but officers found no substantial amount of drugs in the houses other than what was in the one woman’s mouth.

The owner of a neighboring business said he was glad to see the raid.

“It is a quiet neighborhood, but over there, they give parties every night,” said Luciano Madrid, owner of El Taquito Cafe.

“There’s just lots of traffic there,” Madrid said. “The police did a good job there, I think.”