Laci Caldwell's vagina may hold less cargo than Claudia "Home of the One-Pounder" Ibarra's, but the 25-year-old accused smuggler wins points for creative storytelling.
Caldwell was stopped on Monday while walking from Mexico at the San Luis port of entry south of Yuma after agents noticed she "seemed to be in pain or discomfort and that she was standing awkwardly."
Pain? Well, sure -- the woman was in labor, about to give birth to 134.3 grams of meth. That's nearly five ounces, or more than a quarter of what Ibarra was accused of trying to smuggle. As New Times writer Matt Hendley related in the June blog post linked above, Ibarra fessed up promptly when asked about her extra baggage. Caldwell, though, whose hometown wasn't listed in a federal complaint, apparently thought for a minute there that she'd be able to talk her way out of trouble.
After noticing her awkward stance, customs agents asked for a second time whether she was carrying any contraband, and she said no. Agents felt a hard object protruding from her groin after a pat-down.
"When asked what the hardness was, Caldwell replied that it was the result of a medical mishap during the birth of her first child," the report states.
For some reason, agents didn't wish her well and send her on her way. They conducted a "partial body search," which resulted in the discovery of "an off-white colored bubble/ball extending from Caldwell's vaginal canal . . ."
Yet Caldwell stuck with her story, again saying the object was an "abnormality" that occurred after her first pregnancy, "and she insisted that she be taken to the hospital for an X-ray."
Agents didn't believe the tale but agreed an X-ray was in order. They took her to the Yuma Regional Medical Center, where a doctor told them he'd prefer to just do a thorough vaginal exam.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Then Caldwell saw her chance to ditch the evidence, according to the report. She changed into a hospital gown, and after "soiling this gown," she changed into another. She tried to throw away the first gown, which one of the customs agents noticed was wrapped around an oblong object. The agent told her to put the stuff down, but Caldwell threw the object behind a door.
Two plastic packages containing the 4.8 ounces of meth were found on the ER floor.
Yesterday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Metcalf ordered Caldwell to be detained, deeming her a flight risk.
Caldwell's being charged with two felony counts -- one for smuggling the meth and another for possession with intent to distribute.