Judge Rules Search Illegal; Suspect in Drug Case is Free

Illegal drug dealing charges against a New Jersey man were dropped by the Pennsylvania Attorney General Tuesday after a police search of the defendant’s “body cavities” was ruled unreasonable.

Charles McRae, 22, of East Orange, N.J., was freed from Monroe County Correctional Facility Monday, and drug dealing and possession charges against him were dismissed.

McRae was swept up in a Monroe County Drug Task Force raid on Nov. 8, 2001.

Using a search warrant, police raided the home of April Miller on Christine Drive in Stroudsburg and found six other adults and two children in the apartment.

The adults were stripped naked and subjected to a body cavity search.

A bag containing four grams of crack cocaine was found inside McRae’s rectum.

Michael Ventrella, assistant Monroe County Public Defender, argued the search was illegal because McRae had not been named in the search warrant.

The body cavity search was “clearly unreasonable” because there was no probable cause for police to believe McRae possessed illegal drugs, ruled Monroe County Judge Linda Wallach Miller.

The state argued that because the body cavity search was incidental to the search, it was legal.

But Ventrella called the body cavity search a “serious intrusion into the privacy of a person.”

McRae had been in jail since his arrest last year.

The Miller apartment was targeted because undercover agents made a controlled buy there 48 hours before execution of the warrant.

In suppressing evidence found in McRae, the failure of police to mention McRae, who was visiting, in the search warrants also made the search illegal.