My God... This just gives people reason to dislike us Americans even more...
Boater held for 3 weeks in U.S. jail for refusing to sail drunk
Cross-border trip ends in detention centre
Windsor Star; CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, August 25
WINDSOR, Ont. - A Canadian boater who crossed Lake Erie has been in the custody of U.S. authorities for three weeks, despite having committed no criminal offence.
"This is ridiculous. You wouldn't believe what's going on here," said a frustrated Terry DaCosta of Woodstock, Ont., on the phone
from Monroe County Jail on Friday evening.
"It's pathetic. I thought we were supposed to be neighbouring countries."
DaCosta, 39, said his troubles began on Aug. 3, when he took his boat on a recreational trip with other boats from Leamington to Put-in-Bay near Sandusky, Ohio
Upon arrival on American shores, DaCosta contacted the U.S. Border Patrol to ask for their approval to stay -- something he said he's received on previous occasions without any problems.
While he was waiting, DaCosta consumed several beers. He was then dismayed to learn from border patrol that his request for entry was denied.
"I said, 'I can't leave, I've had a few beers,' " DaCosta recalled. "They said, 'If you can't drive your boat out of here, we're going to have to arrest you and deport you ourselves.' "
DaCosta, who was alone in the boat, said he didn't want to risk being stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard and potentially losing his boating
licence over a failed breathalyser test. "I said, 'Fine, arrest me, I'm not drinking and driving.' "
But what DaCosta thought would be an inconvenient process has turned into a prolonged nightmare.
According to DaCosta, his first week in custody was spent in a cell with 15 other men
and a poorly working toilet. He said he's now been placed in a large dormitory filled with between 80 and 100 other people.
"They treat us like we're a bunch of animals
," DaCosta said.
His dorm is one reserved for immigration detainees, the jail confirmed.
"There's no criminal offence," said James Battin, DaCosta's lawyer in Canada
. "It seems to me to be just a little bit strange. My understanding is his file went to Miami
and he went to Monroe, Michigan."
Battin said DaCosta is being represented by a Michigan lawyer, and there's not a great deal that can be done for him from Canada
DaCosta said he has no criminal record
in either the U.S. or Canada.
and mechanical contractor by trade
, DaCosta said he's worried about the status of his independent contracting firm as he languishes in custody.