Impersonating a federal agent, Michelle Morales-Gonzales once flashed what looked like an official badge and asked a 16-year-old to strip down to his underwear so she could check his body for needle tracks, according to a federal indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit Tuesday.
Morales-Gonzales and an accomplice, who has not been indicted, searched people’s homes, sometimes detaining them for hours and forcing them to provide urine samples that would be tested later, the Detroit Free Press reports. The drug test kits were reportedly obtained from her husband, a U.S. Army recruiter who has not been charged.
The West Branch woman’s victims’ believed her to be an agent with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security because she showed badges that looked official, the government said in court documents charging her with impersonating a federal agent.
The bizarre case also includes allegations that she tore loose the paneling in one house to see if anything had been hidden inside.
Authorities said Morales-Gonzales and her accomplice, identified as “Anthony,” targeted people they suspected of drug use.
Authorities with Homeland Security were tipped off about her activities in January by a police detective who had taken reports from some of the woman’s victims, including the family of the 16-year-old who was strip-searched.
“Gonzales told him he tested positive for several drugs and he had two options; he could either strip down to his underwear and allow her to examine his body for evidence of drug use, or she would have a car show up and take him to federal prison,” a Homeland Security agent wrote in a criminal complaint presented in U.S. District Court as evidence. “Feeling like he had no options (the teenager) accompanied Gonzales to the back room of his house and stripped down to his underwear.”
Morales-Gonzales was released on bond, but was required to wear an electronic monitoring device. The charge is punishable by up to three years in federal prison.