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Old 15-07-2009, 13:21   #1
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Homeland Security

Hello All,


Last night my boat was boarded by Homeland Security (4) men. I would like to get more information on what authority they have and at what point it ends.

In my case the boat was at the dock and i was down below asleep, after they knocked on the boat my GF got up and open the hatch when they said we both had to get off the boat so they could search it. At first everything was very friendly and i pointed out all my documents and safty Equiptment. While 3 men did the search one man stayed on the Homeland Security Boat talking to someone on a cell phone.

After they searched my boat and two other boats I have control over they found a very small amount (0.5 grams) of pot on me. The officer on the boat then said cuff him and took the pot. A short time later the local police showed up and I was taken to jail. I admit i had the pot and do not have a problem with going to jail for it.

The problem i have is while all this was going on the had a K9 drug dog come in that found nothing, but the officers kept telling my GF all kinds of lies about how they could take her to jail and even take the boat.

There was one boat from Homeland Security with 4 men, 5 Police cars and even a helicopter. all over .05 grams of weed.

As it turns out this morning when i went to court the case was dismissed due to the Homeland Security doing an illegal search some how. From what the lawyer told me someone called in a tip that i was running drugs and had the cops,dog all waiting to get me. some type of setup.


I think what bothers me most is the fact that just because i live on a boat i gave up rights that home owners have.

Please give input.

Dutch
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Old 15-07-2009, 13:48   #2
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absolutley you gave up rights that home owners have. Certainly the UK and the USA coasties- now homeland security in the US- have the right to board your vessel whenever they choose to do so. THey have the right and will impound your vessel for small drug offences. One of the main rules you will have learnt ( if its not stop smoking pot) is never never never keep illegal drugs aboard your boat, never never smoke illegal drugs aboard your boat, never never never let anyone else either bring drugs or smoke them on your boat. never be seen socially with sailors ( or others) who use drugs- the implication alone is enough for them to board you, the coasties are military, not police, they need no justifications. but they do have to conform to search and seizure laws.. this may sound like the ravings of a paranoid lunatic, but I have seen friends boats taken away for jsut the suggestion that they smoked pot, watching them try to gt their boats back from HMG ( betty's government) was not a fun excerise
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Old 15-07-2009, 14:17   #3
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I don't understand the point of your post. Are you seeking expressions of sympathy?

As for the comment about having given up your rights because you live on a boat, obviously that's not entirely true, or the charge of possession would not have been dismissed because of an "illegal search", which is a new twist on that matter. Moreover, any adult that's been involved with boating for any period cannot help but know that the Coast Guard and its designated agents have right to board and search any boat in US waters, whenever. The matter has been discussed and debated ad nausea for years in virtually every marina and yacht club bar in the country and on virtually every web-site devoted to boating.

Further, given the fact that the Coast Guard has had a Zero Tolerance policy regarding drugs aboard boats for 21+ years, which is common knowledge, it should have come as no surprise to you that the Coasties wouldn't be too thrilled to find drugs on your boat however little the quantity; and, given the forfeiture laws, having any dope on a boat is pretty stupid in my view. Moreover, if someone's already reported you, odds are it was someone that had a problem with you for some reason and may have smelled the scent of "weed" (which is pretty distinctive) and decided to use that as a means of attacking you. Fair or unfair, you're on the radar at this point so don't be surprised if you have more visits.

This is not a commentary on the rightness or wrong of “weed” (although I think it’s an unwise lifestyle choice) but, given the “rules”, one must be ready to pay the piper for the choices one makes without complaint, no?
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Old 15-07-2009, 14:28   #4
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I believe what's applicable is it is legal for them to search your boat. (It is resonable because the boat can be moved.) It is legal for authority to search you at border crossings without probable cause. Your expectations for privacy are lower. It is legal for them to pat you down when they stop you (officer safety). All these come under reasonable search and seizure. But, finding that small an amount suggest that the officers were not looking for weapons that might be used to harm them. It suggest that it was beyond the test for a reasonable search. Your person still has a certain right to privacy. Now, if it had been stored in a can that was on the boat, you'd probably still be figuring out how to make bail and get your boat back.
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Old 15-07-2009, 14:46   #5
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Thank you very much for your responce and advice Rhosyn, I do agree you should not have drugs on the boat at all.

SV your post is a bit harder to respond to but will do my best.

What i was hoping to get out of this was the differance in laws between a boat owner and a home owner. I did not ask for sympathy at all and freely admitted i was wrong.

Right now i am not sure if you are unable to read or just felt the need to be rude. In my post it was Homeland Security not the Coast Guard.

As for not giving up any rights by living on a boat. Maybe you should read more on law before you offer advice on a subject. If you live in a House the Police, or any goverment office has to have a warrent before they come in. Unlike a boat.

You are right about one thing, it was a tip from a person unhappy with me but that is a mute point.

The points I was trying to get across was the differance in laws along with how much money was spent for a small time thing (to be fair) you may not think .5 grams is small.

One last thing the weed was not found on the boat and i was not on the boat either.

So please read a post before you respond with rude remarks.

Dutch
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Old 15-07-2009, 14:59   #6
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SV,

I must say i am sorry I use a poor choice of words when i said rude, I believe judgemental is more fitting, and as this is a blog we are all free to have our own options. But I hope you understand I did not post this to debate it was to offer up to date infomation and differances in laws.


Stry

Ty for your responce and understanding.
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:18   #7
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CBP,

Seems to be working thier way down the docks. They started several docks over from johnar. I believe they are conducting practice along with any possible tip. There must have been near a dozen officers involved with a helicopter circling for at least an hour. Where can one go in a boat that will avg 6knts at best. johnar's vessel was completely blocked in & he was gone already in custody. They must have entered the boat a dozen times. It was a huge waste of money from the time they blocked his boat. A wee bit of Gestapo tactics IMHO if they continue this behaviour by just going down the docks.

johnar is on pier 2, and the other 2 boats are on 4 & 5. One is a gentleman nearing his 80's that was rudely harrassed. That's a couple of hundred yards away. I guess I'll be getting a visit soon? johnar, at least you were smart enough to keep it off the boat, and stopping pissing people off will you? hahahahahahahaha.....i2f
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:25   #8
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It must be endemic,
I was boarded by CBP on Sunday- ( I am the only foreign vessel at anchor) I am in annapolis
they were very nice, said it was a training excersise, and could they come aboard. They had a good look through lockers, floorboards, checked all the paperwork paspport, documentation etc, asked a few questions, got the trainee to ask a few questions and left
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:33   #9
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I am left wondering what was illegal about the search? On what grounds was it dismissed?

Its not what was done that bothers me (its all perfectly legal and has been upheld by the Supreme Court), its the attitude our government has taken towards its own citizens that is troubling to me. The attitude seems vindictive and very mean spirited. The People are supposed to be the boss. This is approaching the same attitude and tactics that some third world countries take towards their citizens.

The laws I agree with here. Its the vindictiveness and the aggressive nature of how this is being done to a US citizen, that the Constitution says should first be assumed innocent.

Remember when police officers used to look like police officers and did not wear paramilitary uniforms? I think this is part of the problem right there. It seems civilian law enforcement is starting to adopt the same mental attitudes that soldiers must adopt in order to fight a war. The problem is, civilians are not the enemy.

I think it may be time to start retraining law enforcement in the area of learning how to deal with its citizens in a dignified and respectful way.

For respect to work, it needs to work both ways.
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:44   #10
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I am left wondering what was illegal about the search? On what grounds was it dismissed?

Its not what was done that bothers me (its all perfectly legal and has been upheld by the Supreme Court), its the attitude our government has taken towards its own citizens that is troubling to me. The attitude seems vindictive and very mean spirited. The People are supposed to be the boss. This is the same attitude and tactics that some third world countries take towards their citizens.

The laws I agree with here. Its the vindictiveness and the aggressive nature of how this is being done to a US citizen, that the Constitution says should first be assumed innocent.

My basic question as well reading this. My understanding is they claim the rights mentioned on any boat in U.S. water, as well as any boat flying an american flag or carrying american passangers in international waters.

I'm also surprised it was thrown out. I've never before heard of any warrant or probable cause being required. Is it perhaps because it was a liveaboard tied to a dock?
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:48   #11
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As a somewhat " furiner" in the USA I wont comment too much on how the US police/military treats its own citizens. suffice to say that I have never seen so many types of law enforcement, on the roads , and on the water. SO far all the CBP/ coasties/ Homeland security officials I have met have been very nice, probably because I come under the designation of " tourist". It is worrisome that travellers in this country seem to get preferential treatment.
By the way, they also claim those same boarding rights over ANY vessel in US waters, regardless of flag
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Old 15-07-2009, 15:48   #12
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David very well said. TY

I'm not a lawyer, and the lawyer i had didnt really tell me alot. From what i understand it was dissmissed because they used the wrong rules custody after they had the weed.

One of the HLS officers was playing with it in his hands and in the reports both HLS and local police reports neither report said i ever had pot. It was not until i was at the copshop was the first time it showed up in a report.
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Old 15-07-2009, 16:32   #13
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From what i understand it was dissmissed because they used the wrong rules custody after they had the weed.
Did you ask for the dope back?
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Old 15-07-2009, 18:02   #14
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Is it legal to video a boarding? Maybe legal isn't the right word- will CG or DHS let you video it? Just curious. We have a flip mini HD, and I think I'd like to video any boardings if my family and boat were tied to the dock, esp. in the middle of the night---maybe post it on youtube. Just so everyone knows how their tax dollars are at work. Not really meaning to stir up a pot honestly, I really am curious if you can video the boarding?
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Old 15-07-2009, 18:47   #15
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I admit i had the pot and do not have a problem with going to jail for it.
Why the hell not? You certainly should have a problem with it. There is not a reason on earth you should go to jail for having .05 grams of weed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnar View Post
There was one boat from Homeland Security with 4 men, 5 Police cars and even a helicopter. all over .05 grams of weed.

I think what bothers me most is the fact that just because i live on a boat i gave up rights that home owners have.
The problem is that we have let the "war on drugs" and then the "war on terror" be used as excuses to sign away our rights and let the jack-boot thugs run amok. They were wrong plain and simple. In your heart you know this, thus your post. You should be irked, but as long as we, as a society, chose to let fear rule our lives, we give the government a license for increasing tyranny. It has always been such.
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