On May 25th, 2018, Patrick Eddington with Just Security posted an article regarding Checkpoint USA’s recently filed civil rights lawsuit & federal tort claim. For those who aren’t already familiar with the legal action, the lawsuit was filed against the Pima County Sheriff’s Department & various Customs & Border Protection agents in their individual capacities while the tort claim was filed against Customs & Border Protection. Just Security is an online forum for the rigorous analysis of U.S. national security law and policy and is maintained by the New York University School of Law.
The article summarizes some of the sixteen year history leading up to the present lawsuit, discusses how the Operation Stonegarden federal grant program is playing a role in the legal action and links the underlying issues with similar legal action taking place in areas like Arivaca, AZ.
As such, I recommend the article for the broader context it provides regarding these issues. It can be found online at:
The lawsuit is the result of ongoing harassment I’ve been the subject of for years by Pima County Sheriff Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents at the SR-86 CBP roadblock located near milepost 146.5:
The last straw leading up to the lawsuit was an incident that took place at the roadblock on April 10, 2017 involving, amongst others, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Roher and U.S Border Patrol Agent T. Frye.
By the time everything was said and done, Deputy Roher had arrested me on a state charge of highway obstruction. This despite the fact that I was being detained against my will in front of two stops signs in the lane of traffic at a federal roadblock by an armed federal agent who had refused to let me leave while investigating me possible violations of federal law he had no reasonable basis to believe I had violated. I fought the charge in court for eleven months before it was finally dropped by the prosecutor based in part on testimony given by Deputy Roher in a deposition from earlier this year.
While defending against the charge, I filed a Notice of Claim with Pima County in October of 2017. After the charge was finally dropped, I filed a Federal Tort Claim with Customs & Border Protection in March followed by the legal complaint in April of this year.
Updated information regarding this incident and the ongoing lawsuit will be made available on this blog and the following page(s):
I started writing this post a few years ago after the ACLU of Arizona first released it’s Record of Abuse investigative report regarding U.S. Border Patrol interior enforcement operations in the Tucson and Yuma sectors. I let the article get away from me at the time but recent events have brought me back to it.
In a 3 to 2 vote earlier this month, the Pima County Board of Supervisors opted to reject $1.4 million dollars in federal funds associated with the Operation Stonegarden grant program for the first time since the Pima County Sheriff’s Dept. began participating in the program sometime around 2012-2013:
If there’s one thing people can agree on regarding CBP (Customs & Border Protection), it’s that the agency routinely operates over the line. To illustrate this fact, Rachael Maddux of the Virginia Quarterly Review recently published a wide ranging article on CBP operations inside the country. The article is available online at:
For the article, Checkpoint USA was interviewed back in the summer of 2017 & briefly mentioned in the piece. The article is worth the read and should cover several topics of interest to readers of this blog. Some of those topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
A discussion on CBP’s legal authority to operate inside the country along with some of the history associated with that authority
A federal magistrate in Phoenix, Arizona recently chastisedU.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for blatant violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The magistrate’s findings were the result of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the ACLU & two University of Arizonalaw professors over three years ago.
While violations of federal law by DHS and USCBP are nothing new and FOIA lawsuits against them are numerous, what’s relatively unique in this case is the subject of the FOIA lawsuit referenced above. Specifically, it targets the Green Monster’s policies & procedures regarding interior enforcement operations such as internal roadblocks and roving patrols along with complaints filed against USCBP related to the enforcement of those policies and procedures.
Proving itself to be an equal opportunity harasser regardless of what border it operates near, Border Patrol agents stationed near Canada were recently caught on tape illegally detaining, physically assaulting and tasering 21 year old Jessica Cooke near Waddington, New York. The incident occurred on May 7, 2015 and the agents primarily responsible for the assault can be seen above as well as in the video below:
In 2008, CBP agent Abel Canales was observed & documented by gov’t investigators accepting bribes to allow truck loads of illegal narcotics and aliens through the Tucson Sector I-19 checkpoint. For some inexplicable reason however, Canales was allowed to continue operating in the field for over three years until he was finally indicted in 2011. In 2012, Canales plead guilty to a single charge of bribery.
During the three years in which a fully armed & corrupt Canales was allowed to continue working in the field, interacting with an unsuspecting public in a position of power and influence, Canales managed to dig his hole even deeper by shooting and injuring for life an unarmed illegal immigrant in 2010.
On Monday February 9, 2015, Channel 13 News in Tucson, AZ (KOLD) published the above video and an investigative report on internal CBP checkpoints:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –
“There’s growing concern surrounding southern Arizona’s Border Patrol checkpoints. An increasing number of complaints are now coming from United States citizens who believe they’re wrongfully being questioned and sometimes detained by agents without probable cause….”
The complete report and video can be found on KOLD’s website at:
Rampant illegal actions by Border Patrol agents stationed in border states around the country has been the norm for quite some time now. The problem has only grown in recent years as the agency continues to expand at an alarming rate with few, if any, checks and balances. As such, it’s good to see the ACLU finally taking an active roll in seeking accountability for such illegal acts at internal checkpoints and by roving patrols.
What never ceases to amaze me however is despite the increased scrutiny of the Border Patrol in general, just how many Border Patrol agents there are who couldn’t care less while continuing to violate the law. This of course only serves to show just how arrogant the agency is and unaccountable its agents are.