Post details: Customs K9 Team Deployed At Internal Immigration Checkpoint

2009-08-24

Permalink 19:14:02, Categories: Privacy, Right to Travel, Homeland Security?, Checkpoints, 1063 words   English (EU)

Customs K9 Team Deployed At Internal Immigration Checkpoint

Putting to rest the lie that internal Border Patrol checkpoints are primarily about stemming the flow of illegal border crossers (as if you could stop illegal border crossers 40 miles North of the border to begin with), the video below clearly shows that the Department of Homeland Security use so-called immigration checkpoints as a pretext to search for contraband.

[More:]

As in previous videos, this August 21st checkpoint encounter took place near mile marker 146 on SR86 in Southern Arizona. SR86 is an East-West highway located over forty miles North of the border and never intersects the border at any point.

Consequently, there are no Ports of Entry located along this route. Why then would a 'Port of Entry' K9 team with Customs and Border Protection be operating a CBP detector dog at this internal immigration checkpoint?

The answer is obvious.

During the encounter, the stopping Border Patrol agent greets me by name. Further, the agent never asks my immigration status making it clear the scope of the stop had nothing to do with immigration. Additionally, other Border Patrol agents on the South side of the checkpoint yell out my name on several occasions (see the gray haired Border Patrol agent sitting down while enjoying the festivities below):

While I'm being detained at primary by a Border Patrol agent who knows who I am, a K9 team is going to work on the passenger side of my vehicle sniffing for illegal contraband. Unlike the stopping agent however, the K9 handler isn't a Border Patrol agent. He's a Customs (and Border Protection) agent normally assigned to a port of entry where dogs are trained to search for drugs, guns, currency, explosives and humans who are either entering the country at the actual border or leaving.

Just so you know I'm not exaggerating regarding the types of dogs employed by Customs & Border Protection agents, here is a quote from the CBP website:

"Over 1200 CBP canine teams expedite inspections along our borders. They work tirelessly to combat terrorist threats, stop the flow of illegal narcotics, detect unreported currency, firearms, concealed humans, smuggled agriculture products and explosives."

You can tell which agents belong to which agency in the photos above (and video below) based upon the color of their uniforms. Border Patrol agents operating in the field wear green while CBP Customs agents wear blue.

Why was this U.S. Customs unit deployed at a so-called immigration checkpoint over 40 miles North of the border? Perhaps an expansion of the program discussed in this blog entry can shed some light on that question.

To make the legal issue clear, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Border Patrol checkpoints inside the country must be limited in scope to brief immigration queries with any further detention or searching requiring consent or probable cause. See U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte (1976):

"...We have held that checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search....And our holding today is limited to the type of stops described in this opinion. -'[A]ny further detention. . . must be based on consent or probable cause.' (U.S. vs. Brignoni-Ponce)"

"The principal protection of Fourth Amendment rights at checkpoints lies in appropriate limitations on the scope of the stop."

Since there was obviously no question regarding my immigration status, the sole purpose for my detention was clearly contraband interdiction:

Suspicionless DHS Drug Checkpoints Inside America

It should be noted that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on several occasions that they have no problem with the use of drug sniffing dogs at internal immigration checkpoints as long as the primary purpose of the stop is immigration and the length of the detention isn't extended outside the time frame necessary to make reasonable immigration queries. This checkpoint took place within the jurisdiction of the 9th circuit however and the distinction the 5th circuit has made between primary and secondary checkpoint purposes is a distinction without a difference.

Indeed, if the intent of the U.S. Supreme Court was for drug checks to be allowed at immigration checkpoints, the court never would have stated the following in Indianapolis v Edmond:

"We have also upheld brief, suspicionless seizures of motorists at a fixed Border Patrol checkpoint designed to intercept illegal aliens, Martinez-Fuerte, supra, and at a sobriety checkpoint aimed at removing drunk drivers from the road, Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz...In none of these cases, however, did we indicate approval of a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing."

Petitioners state that the Sitz and Martinez-Fuerte checkpoints had the same ultimate purpose of arresting those suspected of committing crimes. Securing the border and apprehending drunken drivers are law enforcement activities, and authorities employ arrests and criminal prosecutions to pursue these goals. But if this case were to rest at such a high level of generality, there would be little check on the authorities’ ability to construct roadblocks for almost any conceivable law enforcement purpose. The checkpoint program is also not justified by the severe and intractable nature of the drug problem. The gravity of the threat alone cannot be dispositive of questions concerning what means law enforcement may employ to pursue a given purpose. Rather, in determining whether individualized suspicion is required, the Court must consider the nature of the interests threatened and their connection to the particular law enforcement practices at issue.

or

"Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior and reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation" - U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte

I'll be writing more about the current state of the law and why the Border Patrol has been getting away with using immigration checkpoints as a pretext for general law enforcement purposes in the near future but this should give you some idea of where I'll be coming from.

In the meantime, folks may want to give the recent Supreme Court case Arizona v. Gant a read to see how lower courts have misinterpreted higher court decisions in the past to give enforcers far more leeway to act than is constitutional or legal.

Comments:

Comment from: Liam [Visitor]
How feasible would it be for a citizen to sue in federal court for injunctive relief to stop the border patrol from engaging in these general law enforcement activities contrary to the 4th Ammendment? Would you run into issues of standing or similar?
Permalink 2009-08-25 @ 15:28
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
What's scarier to me... is that they seem to have no fear of you, or what you are able to do! It seems they now see you as a minor inconvenience, as compared to your earlier videos. It may be time to up the antagonism to really put them in their place.
Permalink 2009-08-25 @ 18:56
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] · http://tinyurl.com/5anb4p
Welcome Home Troops!

This is what you have been fighting for- a giant federal footprint on your neck.

Guilty until proven innocent- like something straight out of a totalitarian regime.
Permalink 2009-08-26 @ 17:07
Comment from: San Diego [Visitor]
I got stopped at 10pm on the 85 checkpoint in Arizona driving my sister and niece to my grandparents in AZ from San Diego.

I had a 1 gram of grass, and 3 small bags of candy (THC infused) which I have a prescription. I had not consumed any since that morning (nearly 12 hours ago) in the trunk of my car.

When I arrived at the checkpoint...The dog was alerted to my use earlier that monring...and we we're asked to the secondary. I gave consent because I am a law abiding citizen in relation to a border patrol stop (no hard drugs, grass for sale, or illegal aliens). I never had a problem with the any cops (my family members are cops) or border patrol...and admire there sacrifice (or I did).

After being detained for an hour in a small trailer...I was read more rights...and I received a citation (class 6 felony, which lowest possible for possession for grass) while my family (who had nothing to do with it) had to wait in the 102 (albeit at night) for an hour. What was even more annoying is they we’re speaking Spanish for 50% of the time while I was being questioned in the trailer.

The fact that federal officers we're deputized by AZ to police this is minor infraction appalling...and the whole situation have made me weary of our law enforcement or the border patrol' primary and "secondary mission". Fortunately, I am not an AZ resident...however, I urge those who are you to write your congressman or local officials to make this illegal.

I'm also very sad I voted for McCain...it's obvious what this country would become a police state had his Arizonian politics spread to the rest of the country.

PS – I support the military fighting wars against our enemies abroad (and still do) to reply to a previous poster…I just didn’t realize the government know thought I was the enemy while driving to Phoenix.
Permalink 2009-08-29 @ 23:40
San Diego-

We had a legal, Wash State med marijuana user, with a legal amount of med MJ- who was riding in a car- get stopped at a BP checkpoint here in Wash state. BP cited the man and sent him to court- charges later dropped and US Attorney's office sent a letter to BP saying send no more small-time MJ cases our way.

The US Border Patrol- on Feb 25th, 2009- at a public forum in Port Townsend- was asked: Since the US Attorney made a statement last summer saying they do not want to prosecute cases involving small amounts of marijuana- what will happen to the next legal medical marijuana user found with a legal amount of medical marijuana at a checkpoint?

The US Border Patrol stated that small quantities of marijuana will be referred to "state and local" authorities- truly confusing in the case of medical marijuana- legal in Washington State.

Link to video from Border Patrol public forum next to my name above.

Link to my page, with about a year's worth of news links on Homeland Security checkpoints here in Washington State: http://tinyurl.com/5anb4p

Permalink 2009-08-30 @ 05:07
Comment from: Pat [Visitor]
You people are complete idiots. You have no idea what you are talking about. Stop harrassing our federal law enforcement agents and find something else to do with your lives.
Permalink 2009-09-05 @ 16:46
Comment from: Not an ass like the rest of you [Visitor]
What's your fucking point? That the federal law enforcement officers might actually find that you're doing/carrying/acting in some ILLEGAL manner? If you didn't USE DRUGS, SELL DRUGS or CARRY CONTRABAND then you wouldn't care !! Criminals. You're all criminals making a farce out of our constitutional protections, which , contraryto your stupid beliefs, were not put in place to allow you to act with impunity. GROW UP stoners!
Permalink 2009-09-05 @ 22:19
Comment from: Fear of you? [Visitor]
Is that what you want? Our federal LEO's FEARING the general public with a video camera? Did you ever realize that if they are functioning within the law they have nothing to fear? Maybe its YOU who should fear them cause they're the ones to put your using ass in jail! LOOK AROUND ! The rest of the country or the world isn't buying it! You're a minority of miscreants who are fortunate enough to live in a country where the jack booted storm troopers can't just kick in your door in the middle of the night. Frankly, I think most of us would be better off if they could, at least in your case. DON'T BREAK THE LAW ASSHOLE! Did you ever see that Chris Rock video? I'm sure its on Youtube.
Permalink 2009-09-05 @ 22:31
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
Who would have guessed? Yet another authoritarian who can't figure out how to express himself without resorting to vulgarities while making veiled threats of violence against peaceful individuals.

To whomever wrote the last two comments, the only people making a "farce out of our constitutional protections" are those federal agents who run around with guns and badges seizing individuals absent suspicion along public highways inside the country while demanding compliance with arbitrary orders under threat of force.

For those who couldn't tell, the last two comments left by 'Not an ass like the rest of you' and 'Fear of you?' originated from the same IP address.
Permalink 2009-09-05 @ 22:44
Comment from: Visitor [Visitor]
Perhaps you should get your facts straight if you want anyone to take you seriously. There are no longer and 'Customs Agents.' The US Customs Service was abolished in 2003. There are Customs and Border Protection Officersl, and Immigiration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents. I doubt you will revise or make this correction, as you must be busy not working and going through as many checkpoints as you can. The video is funny, the Border Patrol thinks you are a joke, congrats!
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 02:28
Comment from: Karl [Visitor]
Another correction for the well informed journalist...There is only one agency, its called US Customs and Border Protection. Under CBP there are three offices, Border Patrol, Field Operations, and Air/Marine. All these officers work for the SAME AGENCY
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 06:36
Comment from: Dave [Visitor]
How do you know what the K9 team was searching for? Did you ask or did they announce it to you? If the dog were searching for concealed humans, and those concealed humans were undocumented then wouldn't that be an immigration check!! You stated the offices knew who you were...well 1) they have a job to do regardless of who you are or where you are from 2) Everyone has heard about people/journalists who bypass security or set up a situations in hopes to embarass police/law enforcement under the guize of freedom of speech or "the public ought to know". maybe your just one of those people who would love to see the US CBP fail their mission!
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 06:46
Comment from: Greg [Visitor]
You are such an idiot. You were stopped at a lawful checkpoint and as the agent greets you, the dog is quickly passed around your vehicle. You were not asked to pull over for a more datiled search, you were not asked to get out of your vehicle. You were not inconvenienced as the stop lasted less than what you would spend at a traffic light. From my count, you were dateined for no longer than 15 seconds.

And how do you know there is no heavy illegal immigrant traffic through the area? Have you reviewed the case incident reports?

Not sure if you have been paying attention to news reports, but the entire southern border is a HUGE open doorway where drugs enter this country.

Instead of being a whiny crybaby liberal who is trying to find meaning in your life by supporting a "cause", why don't you find another use of your time, like turning that camera towards the boarder and see if you can find illegals running across the border; illegals who kill border agents or bring drugs into this country that destroy so many american lives every day.

These border agents are busting their asses to protect you and your rights so that you have the freedom to write such crap. You ought to thank them sometime.

Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 08:08
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"Perhaps you should get your facts straight if you want anyone to take you seriously. There are no longer and 'Customs Agents.' The US Customs Service was abolished in 2003. There are Customs and Border Protection Officersl, and Immigiration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents."

Actually, my facts are just fine. If you had bothered to read the article, you would have seen where I clearly identified the K9 handler as a CBP agent.

The fact of the matter is, CBP still distinguishes between Border Patrol agents who work the border in between ports of entry and the interior of the country and Customs and Border Protection agents (formerly Customs agents prior to the Homeland Security Act of 2003) who work the actual ports of entry.

The title of this blog entry was designed to explicitly mark this difference and to bring individuals like you out of the wood work.
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 10:38
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
Hi Karl and Dave. IP Address 24.191.113.96 sure is a busy one today.

"How do you know what the K9 team was searching for? Did you ask or did they announce it to you? If the dog were searching for concealed humans, and those concealed humans were undocumented then wouldn't that be an immigration check!!"

Interesting.

What do 'concealed' humans smell like Karl and Dave? Do they smell differently than unconcealed humans?

An attorney in Phoenix recently deposed a DHS K9 handler and asked this very question. It turns out the K9 handler, under oath of course, wouldn't/couldn't come up with a plausible explanation as to how his dog could smell any difference between a concealed and unconcealed human.

Now follow the logic here. Since the CBP K9 handler in my video was using his dog to sniff my vehicle while I was still in it and the dog is incapable of distinguishing the difference between a human sitting upright and one lying down out of sight AND the dog didn't alert to my presence, it's clear the dog was specifically trained and looking for narcotics or other contraband material.

Additionally, the handler was a Customs and Border Protection agent who normally works ports of entry looking for illegal material where the scope of such searches are much broader than has been explicitly allowed at interior checkpoints...

Do you think you can take it from here or do I need to hold your hand through to the next logical conclusion?

"You stated the offices knew who you were...well 1) they have a job to do regardless of who you are or where you are from"

That's funny you should say this because the Supreme Court has stated the only job DHS agents have at interior checkpoints is to make brief immigration queries. Since the agent who stopped me knew me by name, the dog sniff was an illegal detention and illegal expansion of the scope of the checkpoint.

"Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior and reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation" - U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 10:52
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"You are such an idiot. You were stopped at a lawful checkpoint and as the agent greets you, the dog is quickly passed around your vehicle. You were not asked to pull over for a more datiled search, you were not asked to get out of your vehicle. You were not inconvenienced as the stop lasted less than what you would spend at a traffic light. From my count, you were dateined for no longer than 15 seconds."

Hi Greg

You may want to check your spelling before posting. When you don't, it makes you look like an idiot.

With regards to being inconvenienced, of course I was. Armed federal agents seized me under threat of force along a public highway and interfered with my right to travel and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures absent any reason to believe I was in violation of any law they were enforcing.

"And how do you know there is no heavy illegal immigrant traffic through the area? Have you reviewed the case incident reports?"

Well I would have reviewed the incident reports for this checkpoint but the Department of Homeland Security keeps on violating the Freedom of Information Act but ignoring my FOIA requests from the past 18 months.

"Not sure if you have been paying attention to news reports, but the entire southern border is a HUGE open doorway where drugs enter this country."

Perhaps that's because Border Patrol agents and CBP agents are ignoring the border to harass domestic traffic inside the country instead...

"Instead of being a whiny crybaby liberal who is trying to find meaning in your life by supporting a "cause", why don't you find another use of your time, like turning that camera towards the boarder and see if you can find illegals running across the border; illegals who kill border agents or bring drugs into this country that destroy so many american lives every day."

There you go with that spelling thing again Greg. It's spelled 'border', not 'boarder'. Anyway, I thought that was the job of the Border Patrol. That's why the federal government takes a huge chunk of federal reserve notes out of my paycheck each week, so they can pay these guys to actually patrol the border instead of harassing people trying to go to work inside the country.

"These border agents are busting their asses to protect you and your rights so that you have the freedom to write such crap. You ought to thank them sometime."

Why would I thank someone who has gone out of their way to seize me absent suspicion inside the country and treat me like a criminal merely for traveling along a public highway? You sure are confused Greg. Do you thank muggers for mugging you as well? After all, they put their lives on the line to make a living too. What if they tried to mug someone with a gun for instance and that person fought back to protect themselves and their property?
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 11:07
Comment from: Vince Black [Visitor]
Checkpoint USA: Sir, I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make here. You lead people to believe you are some sort of fighter of perceived "injustices" by our border officials. If injustices were actually taking place I might take you seriously. But the fact is you can't be taken seriously....at all. CBP officers and BP agents have a job to do. A very tough job at that. Not only do they deal with extreme danger, poor weather and working conditions, but they have to deal with citizens of their own country (who they protect every day at work)harrassing and attempting to intimidate them from doing their jobs. This is exactly what YOU are doing sir. You are like a lot of people out there....you feel as if the law shouldn't apply to you. The freedoms you enjoy come at a cost. I "think" you understand that. Some of those costs are brief encounters at our borders and interior checkpoints. Big f'ing deal. Thank them for their work and go about your business. If I were you, I'd be worring about what our president is doing with our economy and our way of life. That's a cause you should take up.
Permalink 2009-09-06 @ 22:52
Comment from: Greg [Visitor]
Mr. Checkpoint,

So, not only are you a constitutional scholar, and an expert in law enforcement tactics, but you also appear to be an English professor. I'm sure you've never made any typographical errors before. Thanks for the tutorial.

As far as them ignoring the border, how the hell are so many BP agents being killed by mexican coyotes and drug smugglers if they are ignoring it?

And if they are ignoring your FOIA request, then file a lawsuit against them or contact the ACLU and have them file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Lastly, you still never state how long you were detained. The U.S. Constitution clearly states under the 4th amendment, and I quote: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against UNREASONABLE searches and seizures, shallnot be violated...."

10 - 15 seconds is NOT an unreasonable seizure. If you were held there for 5 -10minutes, I could see your side of the issue. Also, if you think it is, Contact the ACLU and have them represent you in a civil rights case. They love that crap!

Again, you really should find a better use for your time, maybe get a hobby or something.
Permalink 2009-09-07 @ 09:01
Comment from: BOB [Visitor]
I am confused as to why you find it entertaining to film Federal Officers doing their job? You state in your Blog that this highway runs east to west and never makes contact with a port of entry. As shown in your video there are two types of officers aiding in the search of your vehicle, Green representing Border Patrol Agents (BPA) and the K9 unit in blue which is a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO)BPA have the authority to go as far inland as needed to follow leads on suspicious persons. With this being said it could be possible that this highway in which you were traveling has had reports of illegals as well as narcotics being transported along it. This would then give BPA the authority to ensure the safety of the general public and search whomever they feel compelled to search. It would also give them the authority to call upon trained backup such as a K9 CBPO who searches thousands of vehicles daily to search your vehicle. If anyting you should thank the Department of Homeland Security for making this a quick process. If you feel that this is a violation of your rights then I suggest you also write a blog about local pet owners who may walk by your car and allow their pets to sniff a tire or two. You were not searched in any way that would violate your rights. The bottom line is your a joke who learned to write. Also if you find it acceptable to support those who traffic narcotics or even use them for that matter you must also support those who drink underage, drive intoxicated, molest children and kill for fun. How can I compare the two? All those things are illegal and so is drug use. Get over it, grow up, and go fight something that is worth while such as sex trafficing or child abduction. I am sure parents of abducted children would love to read that you didnt like being stopped for fifteen seconds so officers could look your vehicle over and ensure there was nothing suspicious about you or anyone with you especially so close to the border.
Permalink 2009-09-08 @ 17:31
Comment from: Cranky Old Guy [Visitor]
Wow, looks like the government spooks are out in full force, getting paid to discredit anyone who does not follow the official lies.

What is really interesting is how violent and arrogant they become when a person is doing something perfectly legal-and "protected" by US Constitution-namely free speech.

I would hate to see their steroid induced violence if they thought someone was breaking the law. The Pastor who got the crap kicked out of him for "daring" to refuse to ID himself at another Gestapo check point rings a bell.

I was a tourist in Colorado, who while driving down some small highway, came upon a "sobriety" checkpoint. The only thing is that they never asked me any questions, never had me do any sobriety test, just looked at my drivers license and said have a nice day--looking for something else perhaps? Utter BS.

Permalink 2009-09-08 @ 18:43
Comment from: BorderBob [Visitor]
So Terry, if these checkpoints are so unlawful, why do you stop? Seems to me the perfect way to stop them is to be the martyr and just run it. Get arrested and take your case into court. It seems to be working with your T.O. lawsuit, although they are distinctly different circumstances.

For the rest of you, the only reason we know who Terry is, is because he is the only one who shows up in the CP waving his little camera around like a maniac. You like to post pictures of federal officers on the net without their permission, next time I will grab the license plate off your blue pick up and post it on the Internet for everyone to see. You are in a public place, public Internet, right??
Permalink 2009-09-12 @ 08:32
Comment from: Thomas [Visitor]
Here is the point, for those of you who don't get it: Border Patrol checkpoints are only permissible if their primary purpose is to check for illegal aliens. Secondary checks for narcotics or other contraband are only allowed if the primary check raises reasonable and articulable suspicion.

Per Indianapolis v Edmonds, an illegal drug check cannot be the primary reason for a checkpoint. If that were the case, "there would be little check on the authorities’ ability to construct roadblocks for almost any conceivable law enforcement purpose." Can you imagine a roadblock setup to see if you paid your taxes? To see if you were smuggling counterfeit goods or pirated DVDs?

Based on the info above, it was clear that the Border Patrol knew of Mr. Bressi's immigration status, and a quick look at his car would have indicated there was no suspicion that he was smuggling illegal aliens. He should have been waved on through without having to wait for a drug-sniffing dog to (illegally) inspect his vehicle.

Permalink 2009-09-12 @ 15:13
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
BorderBob: I am living proof that CheckpointUSA is not the only person filming these encounters.

I also see no problem posing film an photos of people in public areas. It is perfectly legal. Besides, if the agents have nothing to hide...
Permalink 2009-09-13 @ 06:17
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"So, not only are you a constitutional scholar, and an expert in law enforcement tactics, but you also appear to be an English professor. I'm sure you've never made any typographical errors before. Thanks for the tutorial."

No problem Greg. Perhaps next time you'll be a little more careful before calling someone else an idiot.

"As far as them ignoring the border, how the hell are so many BP agents being killed by mexican coyotes and drug smugglers if they are ignoring it?"

Perhaps you could be so kind as to point us to the statistics showing how many BP agents are being killed by Mexican coyotes and drug smugglers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Border Patrol agents aren't even in the top ten most dangerous jobs in America. That honor goes to drivers, roofers, ranchers, the fishing industry, etc.

"And if they are ignoring your FOIA request, then file a lawsuit against them or contact the ACLU and have them file a lawsuit on your behalf."

I'd be happy to. Why don't you front me the money and time I'll need to file the suit and follow it through the inevitable appeals process.

"10 - 15 seconds is NOT an unreasonable seizure."

It is if the seizure is outside of the boundaries the Supreme Court has established for suspicionless checkpoint stops.

"If you were held there for 5 -10minutes, I could see your side of the issue."

I have been held at this very same checkpoint for five to ten minutes on several occasions. If you had bothered to research my website and blog that would have been obvious to you.

"Again, you really should find a better use for your time, maybe get a hobby or something."

I thought I did have a hobby...
Permalink 2009-09-13 @ 23:14
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"Checkpoint USA: Sir, I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make here."

I thought it was pretty obvious. If you really don't know then spend some more time researching the material on my website and blog.

"CBP officers and BP agents have a job to do. A very tough job at that. Not only do they deal with extreme danger, poor weather and working conditions, but they have to deal with citizens of their own country (who they protect every day at work)harrassing and attempting to intimidate them from doing their jobs."

I think you're a little confused Vince. I didn't stop and seize these Homeland Security agents absent suspicion along a public highway no where near the border. They seized me under threat of force. In doing so, they violated my right to travel freely within my own country. Further, since the scope of the seizure was outside the scope of what the Supreme Court has authorized at such checkpoints, it was also a violation of my 4th amendment rights. As such, the only intimidating and harassing that was taking place originated from Homeland Security agents.


"You are like a lot of people out there....you feel as if the law shouldn't apply to you."

You're confused once again Vince. That's the attitude displayed by many of these federal checkpoint agents.

"The freedoms you enjoy come at a cost. I "think" you understand that. Some of those costs are brief encounters at our borders and interior checkpoints. Big f'ing deal. Thank them for their work and go about your business."

Why would I thank someone for seizing me absent suspicion along a public highway inside the country when they should be patrolling the border or working ports of entry Vince?

You are right about one thing though. Freedom isn't free. The cost is eternal vigilance against government agents running amuck over the very freedoms they're supposed to be protecting.
Permalink 2009-09-13 @ 23:29
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"I am confused as to why you find it entertaining to film Federal Officers doing their job?"

I don't find it entertaining at all BOB. I find it necessary in order to protect myself from federal agent aggression and unlawful behavior at internal checkpoints. I also find it necessary in order to document the burgeoning American police state and the excesses of the Department of Homeland Security.

"You state in your Blog that this highway runs east to west and never makes contact with a port of entry. As shown in your video there are two types of officers aiding in the search of your vehicle, Green representing Border Patrol Agents (BPA) and the K9 unit in blue which is a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO)BPA have the authority to go as far inland as needed to follow leads on suspicious persons."

Sorry to break it to you BOB but these types of checkpoints are suspicionless in their operation. Vehicles are seized absent any reason to believe that the individuals in the vehicles have violated any law.

"With this being said it could be possible that this highway in which you were traveling has had reports of illegals as well as narcotics being transported along it. This would then give BPA the authority to ensure the safety of the general public and search whomever they feel compelled to search."

Wrong again BOB. The Supreme Court has made clear that probable cause is needed to search vehicles or individuals at interior checkpoints:

U.S. vs Martinez-Fuerte (1976): "...We have held that checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search....And our holding today is limited to the type of stops described in this opinion. -'[A]ny further detention. . . must be based on consent or probable cause.' (U.S. vs. Brignoni-Ponce)"

"It would also give them the authority to call upon trained backup such as a K9 CBPO who searches thousands of vehicles daily to search your vehicle."

Wrong again BOB:

"Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior and reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation" - U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte


"If anyting you should thank the Department of Homeland Security for making this a quick process."

Why would I thank someone for seizing me absent suspicion along a public highway under threat of force BOB? What country do you think this is anyway? Some third world tin-pot dictatorship where people can be arbitrarily cherry-picked off the streets for the governments convenience?


"If you feel that this is a violation of your rights then I suggest you also write a blog about local pet owners who may walk by your car and allow their pets to sniff a tire or two."

Well that's just silly BOB. K9's are specially trained for law enforcement purposes and tens of thousands of dollars are spent on any given dog during its lifetime. Further, private pet owners aren't in a position to randomly seize individuals against their will and force them to undergo a sniff from their canine pal.

"You were not searched in any way that would violate your rights."

Of course I was BOB. The Supreme Court has made abundantly clear that checkpoints setup for law enforcement purposes or drug interdiction are illegal. See Indianapolis v Edmond.

"The bottom line is your a joke who learned to write."

I'm hurt BOB. I thought we were really starting to get to know one another.

"Also if you find it acceptable to support those who traffic narcotics or even use them for that matter you must also support those who drink underage, drive intoxicated, molest children and kill for fun. How can I compare the two? All those things are illegal and so is drug use."

Do you mind if I call you TalibanBOB? You'd do well in Afghanistan after all. They need more intolerant zealots like yourself who are capable of making the most ridiculous and incredulous of connections.

"Get over it, grow up, and go fight something that is worth while such as sex trafficing or child abduction. I am sure parents of abducted children would love to read that you didnt like being stopped for fifteen seconds so officers could look your vehicle over and ensure there was nothing suspicious about you or anyone with you especially so close to the border."

I guess George Bush was right after all TalibanBOB. You do hate us for our freedoms.

Maybe you're right though. Perhaps we should all line up along the streets and offer ourselves up for random inspection to any government agent with a gun and badge upon demand. That way they can make sure none of us are suspicious in any way. Better yet, the random inspections should take place in our homes because lots of suspicious stuff the government should know about could be in there...
Permalink 2009-09-13 @ 23:55
Comment from: Weary air traveler [Visitor]
You all need to get a grip. This "righteous" indignation is sorely misplaced and incorrectly attributed to the minor incovenience of Border Patrol checkpoints.

Sit down and think about the last time you attempted to/got on an AIRPLANE! Now compare the "suspicionless" search TSA conducted (unless using mass transit rather than a private aircraft is now considered probable cause to search.)

Come on people- wake up! Did the agents demand that you get in line one hour early (two for international flights) limiting the items you can bring to less than 3 oz of liquid and only one small bag?

And then after those limitations, did they demand that you practically strip naked and subject all of your items to an x-ray inspection (coming soon to an airport near you- NO MORE STRIPPING- because YOU will be x-rayed too)? And then after x-raying (one or more times) did they open the bag (and don't make the mistake of trying to "help" them open it you'll pull back a hand missing a couple of fingers) and paw through it randomly? Pawing until you're neatly packed bag looked very similar to the bags bag ladies haul around (which of course was NOT their responsibility to restore to its previous condition.)

Did they demand a VALID ID (my expired driver's license was REJECTED by TSA because I apparently intending to fly the plane with only an expired motor vehicle license) BEFORE you were permitted to even enter the inspection line?

And then if you're lucky (like me) and ask to speak to a fatherless supervisor (only first names on TSA shirts) you get to go to secondary! Woo hoo! An even MORE thorough inspection (although since my shoes, my belt, watch and cell phone were in one hand and my opened bag in the other about the only thing left to look over was my appendix scar.)

Did any of this occur at the "suspicionless" Border Patrol checkpoint you all are whining about?

What is it? We are so inured to airport inspections we comply without a peep but a random (ie not occuring EVERY time you go out to your car and drive it) 15 second stop on the highway gets you all bent out of shape? Perhaps Border Patrol IS doing it wrong- NO MORE RANDOM INSPECTIONS!!! Rather make them GUARANTEED INSPECTIONS (like airport "security") and then because it'll be routine you all will stop your p*ssing and moaning.

Yeesh- get over yourselves.

P.S. Have any of you tried to sneak illegal narcotics through TSA? Please do and see if they let it go since it's not weapon (or illegal alien.)
Permalink 2009-09-17 @ 04:04
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
I'm not sure why you're bitching here Weary air traveler. You may want to try the TSA website instead.

Sounds like you're embarrassed that others are willing to stand upright in the face of government oppression while all you've managed to do is grovel on your knees.

One website that deals specifically with TSA misconduct is papersplease.org. You may want to check it out once you get over yourself.

BTW, I don't fly which is why I rarely write about the TSA here. You can find several posts in the archives however.

You on the other hand don't appear to have any excuse other than the fact that you want someone else to do all the heavy lifting for you.
Permalink 2009-09-17 @ 05:55
Comment from: BorderBob [Visitor]
I've now dealt with you three times now and have come to the conclusion that you are a sad little man with no life. You complain about being detained at the checkpoints, yet when you show up, you do nothing but wave your camera around and talk to yourself. When you are told you can go, you don't leave but continue to wave your camera around and talk to yourself. In the great universe of travelers at that checkpoint you are but one of just three who have have voiced an issue with the checkpoints. More often than not we receive grateful praise from people traveling through, welcoming our work there. That makes you little more than a nuisance to us and at that point, a distraction from the real work that does get done there.

Perhaps a girlfriend might be more useful for you.
Permalink 2009-09-19 @ 11:22
Comment from: notconvinced [Visitor]
I see your points and they are very strong and compelling. Though I am not entirely convinced. In this age libertarianism probably isn't a good idea. We have drugs, possible terrorists, illegals running around, and criminal illegals. Isn't it more reasonable to give up a slight bit of freedom for to achieve a ton more of security? I mean those are historical trends and reasonable libertarianism will reemerge again when all is done with.

Regarding the legal questions. I am not an expert so I will try not to comment. Though both sides of the legal debate will most likely have good arguments.

Just throwing it out there. Its not the safest thing to do in regards to the agent's safety when you film the agents. I heard somewhere that drug cartels may look at the video and target some of these agents that they may have a grudge against. You even pointed out exactly where they work!
Permalink 2009-09-19 @ 12:28
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] · http://tinyurl.com/levhdv
If the "War on Terror" is important enough for our guys to be getting arm and legs blown off in two foreign wars-

Why is the goal at US ports of entry to stop only 30% of terrorists or any type of illegal activity: http://tinyurl.com/lwmoyb

30%

Are we fighting these wars to prevent another 911?

Is Homeland Security linked to security at our borders?

Hey Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hey veteran's groups- what's with the mixed messages we get from the federal government Re: The "War on Terror"

People who have done nothing wrong- and are not crossing the border, should not expect to stop and explain themselves to federal agents.


Permalink 2009-09-19 @ 17:13
Comment from: Imito [Visitor]
AS to the fact that dogs can not detect (smell) concealed people or can not differentiate between concealed and unconcealed people - you are totally wrong. Dogs can identify each individual human's scent. Therefore they know ehne they smell more than one person. If they can only SEE on person, then the others are hidden.

Obviously, the dogs can not determine if the hidden person is legal or illegal - only that they smell someone that they can not see.

I've seen dogs detect hidden people hundreds of times - they do work!
Permalink 2009-09-22 @ 19:33
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"In this age libertarianism probably isn't a good idea. We have drugs, possible terrorists, illegals running around, and criminal illegals."

The failed war on some drugs is one of the primary contributors to the problem. May I suggest you check out the organization known as LEAP or 'Law Enforcement Against Prohibition'.

With regards to criminal illegals, please read the DHS Inspector General Report from 2006 titled Detention and Removal of Illegal Aliens. In the report the Inspector General notes that ICE has intentionally released back into the United States over 45,000 illegal aliens from countries on terrorist watch lists and at least 30,000 with known criminal backgrounds.

Perhaps a good dose of libertarianism is exactly what this country needs.

"Isn't it more reasonable to give up a slight bit of freedom for to achieve a ton more of security?"

Absolutely not - especially given the fact that internal checkpoints add no security. They make for a good dog and pony show however to create the illusion that government is doing something proactive.

The founders understood the dangers of an unconstrained central government which is why the Constitution and Bill of Rights were crafted in the way they were. We ignore the lessons inherent in the founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, at our own peril.

"Its not the safest thing to do in regards to the agent's safety when you film the agents. I heard somewhere that drug cartels may look at the video and target some of these agents that they may have a grudge against. You even pointed out exactly where they work!"

We don't have secret police in this country. These agents have chosen to stand in the middle of a public highway, exposing their faces to thousands on a daily basis while seizing domestic traffic absent any individualized suspicion whatsoever.

Further, the Department of Homeland Security fully admits that smuggling operations engage in round the clock surveillance on internal checkpoint operations and know within minutes when the status of a checkpoint changes.

Do you really think they also don't know what agents are working what checkpoints at what time? All you need to do is look at the level of corruption in border agents to know the truth. Agents are routinely paid off to look the other way when certain shipments pass through a checkpoint at certain times. I've detailed this corruption extensively on my website.
Permalink 2009-09-23 @ 07:47
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"AS to the fact that dogs can not detect (smell) concealed people"

I never said they couldn't

"or can not differentiate between concealed and unconcealed people - you are totally wrong." Dogs can identify each individual human's scent. Therefore they know ehne they smell more than one person. If they can only SEE on person, then the others are hidden."

Of course they can smell more than one human Imito. I never claimed otherwise. My point was that a dog cannot differentiate, from scent alone, the difference between a concealed and unconcealed human. In this case, the handler made no attempt to 'calibrate' his dog to my scent or even my presence since he stayed solely on the passenger side.

Additionally, I think what you meant to say is that sometimes humans are hidden. Just because a dog can't see someone doesn't mean they're hiding. For instance:

* Someone could be out of sight in the back of a motor home
* Individuals could be sleeping in the back seat of a
car/truck/van/etc.
* The rear and side windows of a vehicle could be tinted
dark enough so that under certain lighting conditions
the individual(s) wouldn't be observable.

In other words, there are lots of perfectly reasonable and legal reasons why a dog could smell the scent of more than one individual but not see them. This doesn't even address the possibility of the presence of odor-generating substances such as dirty laundry in the back seat or trunk of a vehicle.

My point is that it's completely unreasonable for a dog alert to rise to the level of probable cause under uncontrolled conditions when there are many reasons why a dog could alert to the scent of an individual when no illegal activity is afoot.

And what I mean by uncontrolled conditions is using a K9 at pre-primary to sniff vehicles from a foot or more away while the vehicle is still entering a checkpoint. Using a K9 at primary with individuals still in the vehicle along with other perfectly legal odor-generating material such as dirty laundry. Using a K9 at secondary with individuals still in the vehicle along with other odor-generating substances such as dirty laundry.

"I've seen dogs detect hidden people hundreds of times - they do work!"

I'm sure you have. I'm also sure you've seen plenty of false alerts as well not to mention handler-induced alerts.

From my perspective, I've seen quite a few substantiated reports of K9's falsely alerting to drugs and/or humans along with shoddy record keeping making it impossible to judge the accuracy of any given dog. Further, the Border Patrol doesn't keep records of false alerts from its K9 units when practically every other law enforcement entity does. Why do you think that is Imito?

The bottom line is the Border Patrol looks for any excuse it can find to search individuals and vehicles inside the country - including knowingly using K9 units in such a way so as to maximize 'hits' that don't rise to the level of probable cause.

Using K9's trained to detect humans, drugs, cash, explosives, guns, etc. at internal suspicionless immigration checkpoints is an impermissible expansion of the scope of such checkpoints. Allowing K9 alerts to be treated as probable cause and not requiring handlers to get, at a minimum, a judicial warrant signed under penalty of perjury, shows just how much contempt the Border Patrol has for basic due process and 4th/5th amendment protections.
Permalink 2009-09-23 @ 08:48
Comment from: notconvinced [Visitor]
Both sides have such compelling arguments its hard to take a definite side. So I was wondering if you had any data on the percentages of Americans who support/ do not support / or are indifferent to checkpoints.
Permalink 2009-09-23 @ 16:08
Comment from: photoradarscam [Visitor] · http://photoradarscam.com
I was unlawfully detained at a checkpoint today. When I pulled up I rolled my window down part way. They wanted me to roll it down all of the way and I refused and they made me go to secondary. It wasn't until then that I asked if I was being detained, and they said yes. I asked on what basis? They said they had reasonable suspicion based on my refusal to state my citizenship and (I'm guessing) roll down my window further.
Permalink 2009-10-26 @ 22:00
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]
Hey Terry, why did you call Border Bob, TalibanBob and a zealot? Several times you have scolded other posters when they called you names. Hypocritical? I think so.

Also, you know that the checkpoint is there right? You have said on many occasions that the agents are interfering with your freedom of movement right? Why don't you simply use any number of the other roads in the area that don't have a checkpoint on them? You have the ability to use a different road, but instead you CHOOSE to go to the checkpoint. I have come to the conclusion that you like being seized since you don't use a different road.

There is practically a billion (and yes I know I'm exaggerating) things in the above previous comments that I would love to respond to right now, but I simply don't have the time. I would like to point out that you make quite a few assumptions based on no fact at all. Since the majority of the things you say have not been proven in court, they are simply an opinion. Here you tear into peoples dissenting opinions and tell them they are wrong. But they are no more wrong in their opinion then you are in yours. If you don't like the checkpoint use a different road. And since you made it permissible to name call, stop being a whining baby!
Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 05:19
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]

blockquoted Did it work? I looked it up like you said and am testing it now.

Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 05:19
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]

Haha it worked! Except I had an extra blockquoted thingie.

Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 05:21
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
Makes Me Laugh said: "Why don't you simply use any number of the other roads in the area that don't have a checkpoint on them?"
The checkpoints in my area are positioned where I simply cannot bypass them without a 2 hour detour, or trespassing on private land.

I would venture to guess that the checkpoints in Arizona are set up along the same lines.
Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 05:45
Comment from: Tee [Visitor]
Terry, you're an IDIOT and a JOKE. Keep doing what you're doing, it's great entertainment! FYI, that's all you'll ever be...a good entertainer!
Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 10:53
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]

The checkpoints in my area are positioned where I simply cannot bypass them without a 2 hour detour, or trespassing on private land.



You still have a choice. Just because you don't like your choices doesn't mean that the world has to change for you.
Permalink 2010-02-02 @ 21:50
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
"You still have a choice."

Actually, I misstated. I simply cannot cannot bypass them without trespassing on private land.

So, no, I do not have a choice.
Permalink 2010-02-03 @ 05:14
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]

Actually, I misstated. I simply cannot cannot bypass them without trespassing on private land.



Ever ask the land owners? And tell me which highway the checkpoint you drive through is on, and Ill help you find an alternative route.
Permalink 2010-02-03 @ 07:45
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]
Ok I'm obviously doing something wrong with the blockquote, sorry, lol.
Permalink 2010-02-03 @ 07:46
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
"Ever ask the land owners? And tell me which highway the checkpoint you drive through is on, and Ill help you find an alternative route."
No thank you.
Permalink 2010-02-04 @ 04:43
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]
Pafoofnik1-

No thank you.



I guess you're really not interested in finding a way to prevent yourself from being seized. Whenever I TRULY have an issue with something I do everything in my power to fix it. Sounds like you like going through the checkpoint after all.

If you didn't "have" to go through the checkpoint you wouldn't have anything to bitch about anymore. The fact that you like to get on here and complain about how bad you got it is what Makes Me Laugh! hahaha
Permalink 2010-02-04 @ 12:39
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
Nice attempt to twist my motive into something that supports your opinion. Too bad you are wrong.

I don't want to find an alternate route. I want to go home via the direct route I paid for.

Also, I do not wish to reveal much about myself. I've already have one agent threaten to treat me differently when I go through 'his' checkpoint, just because I disagree with his opinions. I have no desire to aid anyone else.
Permalink 2010-02-04 @ 15:00
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]
To bad you're wrong. You said you "want to go home... blah blah blah" That's the problem with people in today's society. Y'all want what you want and think you are entitled to get what ever you want. News flash!! You aren't!! And FYI, I'm not a border patrol agent nor do I work for the government. I take offense that you think I would treat you differently then anyone else just because of your opinions. I am a person who respects all people and I don't treat anybody any differently then anybody else, based solely on their opinions. I may think you are wrong, and have no basis in reality but I respect you as a person.
Permalink 2010-02-04 @ 19:55
Comment from: Pafoofnik1 [Visitor]
"Y'all want what you want and think you are entitled to get what ever you want."
I never said that. Please do not generalize about what you think I want.

"I take offense that you think I would treat you differently then anyone else just because of your opinions"
I never said that at all.

I was responding to your comment that one "...simply use any number of the other roads in the area that don't have a checkpoint on them?" with the reason why this is impossible in my case.

Permalink 2010-02-05 @ 04:51
Comment from: Makes Me Laugh [Visitor]

I don't want to find an alternate route. I want to go home via the direct route I paid for.


I never said that. Please do not generalize about what you think I want.



Yes you did. Also, it was very implied that you think I would treat you differently. And nothing is impossible. Maybe much more difficult then you would like. I know this because illegals make a valiant effort everyday to bypass the checkpoint, and some actually make it. Just goes to show you its not impossible.
Permalink 2010-02-06 @ 17:40
Comment from: visitor [Visitor]
Don't any of you people complaining about the K9's realize that the SCOTUS does not consider dog sniffs a "search". You all love quoting them so much I'm suprised you haven't mentioned that. Also, the original poster himself states that the dogs can in some cases detect humans. Whos to say thats not what they for also?
Permalink 2010-04-19 @ 16:54

Comments are closed for this post.

Roadblock Revelations

Welcome to Checkpoint USA's blog. Here you'll find general information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel.

While I refer to court cases along with state and federal law frequently in this blog, nothing written here should be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. Rather, I'm someone concerned about the growing disregard for individual rights present at all levels of government.

My conclusions are my own based upon personal experience and research. The law is made purposely complex however and varies significantly from place to place and circumstance to circumstance.

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