Post details: Immigration Status Smelling Dog or Illegal Drug Checkpoint?


Permalink 15:37:37, Categories: Right to Travel, Homeland Security?, Checkpoints, Immigration, 529 words   English (EU)

Immigration Status Smelling Dog or Illegal Drug Checkpoint?

It's been a while since I've posted a new video of my suspicionless homeland security checkpoint encounters along SR86 in Southern Arizona but on Friday February 25, 2011, the actions of Border Patrol field supervisor Trevino who seized me at the primary stop location near mile marker 147 managed to bring me out of hibernation. Unlike most of my other encounters over the last year or so, Agent Trevino didn't just wave me through but rather wanted me to roll down my window. When I politely declined Trevino's invitation to give him access to the interior of my vehicle, he decided to detain me at the checkpoint until the K9 handler was through harassing another unlucky soul in secondary inspection and had time to divert the dog's attention to me.


While waiting, I asked Trevino who his supervisor was which prompted him to indicate he was the supervisor and arrogantly declare he was the one asking questions here not me. Perhaps forgetting he was merely a public servant in a country where individuals have rights, I reminded Trevino that everyone (in the Border Patrol) has a supervisor and I was also asking questions. Trevino then proceeded to ignore me while continuing the detention. In fact, he ignored me so much, he failed to ask any questions or show any interest in my immigration status.

Given that the only legitimate purpose of an immigration checkpoint removed from the border is to make immigration queries, it was pretty obvious Trevino knew I was traveling within the country lawfully but continued detaining me in violation of Border Patrol policy and federal supreme court case law anyway. He did this in order to allow the K9 handler time to bring his drug-sniffing dog around to my vehicle. This represented an extended detention absent reasonable suspicion, let alone probable cause, that I was transporting anything illegal in the vehicle (assuming the dog wasn't trained to detect which vehicle occupants are lawfully in the country and which aren't...)

The handler brought his dog over to and around my vehicle. Towards the end of the video just prior to being waved through, the handler allowed his dog to jump up on my vehicle & its nails to slide down the paneling showing that not only do these agents have no respect for the rule of law but no respect for private property either.

Towards the end of the video clip, I included a section of video from Steven Anderson's court appearance back in December of 2009. Additional information regarding Anderson's experience at a suspicionless internal checkpoint can be found here.

Finally, to place this within proper geographic context, the suspicionless homeland security checkpoint depicted in this article, where armed Border Patrol agents (who aren't actually patrolling the border) hang out to harass domesitc traffic absent individualized suspicion, is located along an East-West highway over forty miles North of the border and never intersects the border at any point. Rather, it connects local communities in Southern Arizona and local residents have no recourse but to put up with this crap on a daily basis while going about their lives and trying to get to and from work.

Welcome to Checkpoint USA!


Comment from: Alex [Visitor] ·
Thanks for what you do.

Here, on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, checkpoints ended in 2008- perhaps they weren't really vital to national security.

So, it appears that local US Border Patrol operations have been downsized, yet USBP facilities are soon to be upsized to a 50 agent station at Port Angeles.

Instead of providing justification for upgrading to a 50 agent US Border Patrol station- in an area that shares no land border with Canada- a news blackout on local USBP arrests is put in place:

Aug 2010-

A US Border Patrol spokesperson tells "the press":

"Border Patrol spokeswoman Jenny Burke said Monday that the agency will not release any information on the number of arrests made by agents who work out of the Port Angeles station, the names of those arrested, what they were arrested for and the disposition of their cases"

“The number of arrests for Port Angeles' or any other station is "law enforcement-sensitive," Burke said.”

"The names of those arrested and other facts about them are not available for release under the 1974 Privacy Act, she said."

Local "news" papers salute obediently.

A free and independent press would certainly point out that US Border Patrol arrests are reported in nearby Whatcom County.

Click next to my name above for news links/documentation.
Permalink 2011-02-27 @ 16:16
Comment from: VAPA [Visitor]
I second Alex. Thanks for what you do.
Permalink 2011-02-28 @ 23:13
Comment from: checkpoint charlie [Visitor]
Good information, thanks. What camera do you use/recommend?
Permalink 2011-03-02 @ 22:23
Comment from: Doug [Visitor]
I notice everything that's done is done with a purpose, such as refusing to go to secondary to force their hand about making a decision about whether they have Probable Cause for arrest.
My main question is . . . What was the purpose of asking for the name of Trevino's supervisor? Would that have been to point out the illegality of the extended detention, or ?
Also, Agent Trevino seemed to show the symptoms of testosterone poisoning - so why didn't he divert to secondary in this case? Would you speculate on that? Thx for your help.
Permalink 2011-03-06 @ 20:48
Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]
"What was the purpose of asking for the name of Trevino's supervisor? Would that have been to point out the illegality of the extended detention"

It reminds agents that they answer to someone else and their actions and decisions can be scrutinized by their superiors. I think many law enforcement agents forget this basic fact when they're in the field and it helps to remind them. It also puts them on notice that I understand what their chain of command is, that I exist outside their chain of command, I know how it works (or doesn't) and I'm not afraid of going up it (or bypassing it all together) if I feel it's worthwhile to do so.

It should also serve as a warning that I'm not intimidated by the scenario, I'm paying attention to what's going on and I know how to analyze the situation.

"so why didn't he divert to secondary in this case? Would you speculate on that?"

Well, I don't really know what he was thinking but...

There was already a vehicle in secondary. This could be the only reason making the following analysis irrelevant but I'll put it out there anyway:

* These agents are well aware of the fact that I refrain from going to secondary for the reason you already noted. Ordering someone to secondary knowing full well they probably wont go undermines their authority when they don't follow through (and the incident is televised). Perhaps they are trying to avoid the explicit undermining of their authority by not directing me to secondary in the first place anymore.

* In Steven Anderson's court appearance from December 2009, one of the defense attorneys asked the Border Patrol agent why he didn't arrest Anderson when he refused to go to secondary. The agent responded that he couldn't arrest Anderson because he hadn't broken any laws yet. Keep in mind that the secondary referral in Anderson's case was allegedly based upon probable cause from a dog alert which is a much higher standard than anything the agents have alleged in my interactions.

Of course, the agents lied about the dog alert but that's beside the point. The main point being the agent understood that even while alleging probable cause, there's no explicit law allowing agents to arrest someone for failing to go to secondary.

The game they tried to play with Anderson was to call local authority and claim he was blocking traffic. While they got their way in the short term by convincing state troopers to do their dirty work for them. they lost in court in the long term.

Agents have also tried to pull a similar stunt with me. During one of my encounters, they had a tribal cop pull me over a short distance after I left the checkpoint and write me a ticket for impeding traffic. I fought the charge in court pro-se and won hands down.

I walked into court with about 50 pages of supporting documentation and legal analysis in triplicate. I hand delivered one copy to the court clerk and another to the citing officer. My scheduled trial time was extended from 5 minutes to 15 when the clerk saw what I had prepared. The judge listened to a 5 minute rambling account from the cop while reviewing my documents and then dismissed the case without giving me an opportunity to speak.

As such, their track record regarding these issues has been pretty bad to date. The harder they push, the greater chance they undermine their general effectiveness or receive an adverse court ruling at a high enough level that seriously impairs their preferred SOP.

What I haven't figured out yet is why Trevino took a chance with detaining me for the drug dog in the first place. If the dog had alerted or an agent claimed it alerted, I guarantee this would be going to trial. They've got to know I've been educating myself regarding the use and limitations of drug dogs in this context. They've also got to know there are quite a few effective legal mechanisms available to challenge a dog alert not to mention the growing body of research indicating these dogs are really not much better than a guess and are quite susceptible to false alerts based upon signaling from their handlers.

Regardless, trying to assign a reason to Trevino's actions is mostly speculation. What I do know is that up until Trevino, they've just been waving me through over the past year or so. Over the last few months however, Border Patrol activity in the area has been picking up dramatically with lots of additional agents in the area and heavier staffing at the checkpoint. I'd never seen Trevino before this incident so I don't know if he just didn't get the memo or if they've decided to turn up the heat and brook no resistance....

I guess I'll be finding out in the near future.
Permalink 2011-03-07 @ 02:16
Comment from: Doug [Visitor]
Thank you so much for your very insightful reply. That's very helpful, and I appreciate it.
Permalink 2011-03-10 @ 23:27
Comment from: DJ Lee [Visitor]
I've been led to this site via a reddit page regarding the fundamental rights one posses one being searched.

I admire your efforts and work you spend to try to defend the rights of a citizen of a country.
I am a citizen of Canada and while I haven't been in such a situation or researched on violation of individual rights in my country, my interest in right to privacy was piqued by the recent uproars against the TSA body scanners and full-body searches.

I believe such rights should be respected and protected in every civil society and recent news I hear about violation of these rights in various countries over the world is making me more concerned then ever on safeguarding them.

Once again, I respect very much your determination and root for your efforts.
I sincerely hope they can lead to fruition of better society and I will do my best in upholding these rights in my country and more.

Thank you for this website.
Permalink 2011-07-19 @ 23:37

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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