(FRIENDSWOOD, Texas) — A woman in a small Texas town is alleging that police who pulled her over for a traffic ticket coerced her into making undercover drug buys to avoid paying the traffic fine, and threatened to reveal her role when she tried to back out of the arrangement.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous because she fears retribution from dealers, was pulled over for making an illegal lane change in the town Friendswood on Aug. 22, her attorney Dane Johnson told ABC News.
The officer who pulled her over found a glass pipe and the prescription medication Suboxone, which Johnson says she has a prescription for. She was given tickets for an out of date registration and for not having proof of insurance with her, records show.
She was then arrested, taken to the police station and strip searched, her attorney alleges.
“The police seemed to think she was a drug dealer, and threatened to call Child Protective Services if she didn’t cooperate,” Johnson said. “This is a single mother with no criminal record, and they wouldn’t let her call anyone to go look after her child for the four hours she was at the station.”
While being held police offered her a deal: perform three controlled drug buys instead of paying the fines, the lawyer said. Her attorney told ABC News she had never bought drugs before, but agreed to do it to get out of the citations.
“I had two choices. They were either going to arrest me, or I could agree to do some controlled buys,” she told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.
The Friendswood Police Department wouldn’t comment to ABC News on the story. County Manager Nick Haby said, “Because it is a pending criminal investigation it is our policy not to discuss it with the media at this time.” He would not say what was under investigation.
County prosecutors in two adjoining counties said they were unaware of the case.
But the woman’s lawyer provided copies of text messages to ABC News supporting her claim that she was made to make a drug buy and was threatened with having her role revealed when she became afraid to make any more purchases.
Text messages that appear to be between the woman and a Friendswood detective show the planning in advance of the drug deal.
The woman’s attorney said they are fighting the two traffic tickets, but have not yet decided whether to take legal action against the police department.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Jason Hanna, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN