Doyma Vanessa Michel, a US citizen from Escondido, California, has claimed in court that she was attacked in prison after being unconstitutionally detained. Arresting officers mistook rennet, a cheese-making ingredient, for drugs. Michel claims that she is suffering from the injuries she sustained.
The wronged cheese-maker is now suing US Customs and Border Protection, three Border Patrol officers, and Safariland, which makes the field test the officers used to claim the rennet was meth, Courthouse News reported.
Her troubles began on June 2, 2014, as she crossed the border. An officer questioned her about a missing front license plate and, during this inquiry, a second officer approached her vehicle, opened the passenger door, and noticed a bottle of liquid rennet in her glove compartment. The officers then field tested the liquid using Safariland's Narco-Pouch 923 methamphetamine test kit, and claimed that it came back positive for meth.
The woman asserted that she explained to the officers that the liquid was rennet, or cuajo in spanish, an enzyme made from calf stomach lining used to produce cheese. The enzyme curdles milk protein and creates solid curds.
The officers did not believe her, however, and refused to retest the liquid.
"During the period plaintiff was imprisoned and up until days before she was released, the government defendants did not at any point take any steps to retest the cuajo which plaintiff had been so adamant was a harmless cheese making ingredient," the complaint states.
Michel has thrown the book at the entire US border control program, seeking punitive damages for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, failure to train and supervise, emotional distress, misrepresentation, negligence, breach of warranty, and unfair competition, Courthouse News reported.