Craziest Border Patrol Story

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pythonregius3
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Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by pythonregius3 » August 13th, 2016, 2:42 pm

I was recently in AZ with family near the border and had been pulled over a few times by border patrol and had an odd thing happen once. I wanted to see what kinds of stories people had. One night when in a wildlife refuge road cruising maybe 10-15 miles north maybe a little further of the border we found a western diamondback. We got out of the car and noticed a helicopter overhead. it started circling us and getting lower. it dropped to maybe 100 feet or so and got closer and closer. it then kicked on a crazy strong spotlight. you could see the border patrol green stripe on the tail of the helicopter. The diamondback got super mad and started watching the spotlight i am sure that thing gave off a crazy amount of heat. It was very stressful to us trying to watch the snake so we didn't get bit and trying to also keep an eye on the helicopter as it got lower and closer to us as it appeared like they were thinking about coming in and landing as it kept getting lower and closer. we thought it was going to stress the snake as the snake was getting more and more agitated and we thought they might keep circling us until we left so we moved the snake off the road with a hook and started towards the car. as soon as we did this the helicopter started to leave. My brother then started to walk back to the snake and the second he took a step away from the car the helicopter turned the light back on and turned back towards us so we had to just leave.

Every other time we talked to a border patrol person and we were pulled over in this same area a few times basically they just said to be careful and they didn't seem to care we were helping. we had a license weren't collecting and it wasn't a protected species anyway so we weren't doing anything wrong. I have no idea why they were harassing us but it was very annoying b/c every other WDB we saw on the trip was either in a rain storm or in high traffic so i got almost no pictures and this one was in a spot we could have spent time getting pics. of course we also saw a few dead as well on the road and in that area 80% of the cars were border patrol cars so a good chance they were the ones that killed the snakes so they probably killed a few we could have found and made us leave when we found this one.

I thought some people might have some really crazy stories on this topic that could be fun.

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jonathan
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by jonathan » August 14th, 2016, 3:28 am

Haha - the one time I heard a helicopter coming from a distance, I was on foot, so I just ducked out of sight so that they'd pass over without loitering around my herping area. Now I know I made a good call.

My guess is that they originally stopped because you looked suspicious with your vehicle stopped on the road, then they loitered to look at the rattler and have fun. But they might have legit been trying to get a good look at everyone too, I dunno.


The only time I got harassed at all was when I camped a ways off-road just a a couple km north of the BP checkpoint inside of A-B State Park. I had driven off onto a dirt road and parked the car off the road, then set up my camp well off the road behind some bushes. In the middle of the night a BP vehicle came down the road, stopped when they saw my car, and eventually figured out where my tent was. Then they shined the huge spotlight on the tent. I decided to just wait them out rather than getting out. They responded by reving their engines and rapidly pulling forward, then back, then forward, then back. It was weird - I couldn't figure out if they were trying to make a bunch of noise, spook me out of the tent, or what. I just stayed in the tent, and eventually they left without getting out of the cars themselves.

I've been that area about 9-10 days total, and all my other interactions were completely positive. Even when I was doing really weird crap. One night I got to a road that leads to the hilly part of the border at about 8:30pm and parked. When BP stopped me, I told them I was going camping in the direction of the border. When they asked why I was doing it in the dark, I said, "Don't have much time off - got to make due with what I have". They let me take off and I then proceeded to hike up into the hills in the dark and set up camp not far at all from the border. No one bothered me all night, and I got to hunt for Wiggin's Desert Night Lizards the next morning.

stlouisdude
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by stlouisdude » August 14th, 2016, 6:00 am

jonathan wrote:When they asked why I was doing it in the dark, I said, "Don't have much time off - got to make due with what I have". .
ROFL this made me laugh hysterically.

pythonregius3
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by pythonregius3 » August 14th, 2016, 6:44 am

Haha. Thats awesome. I forgot to mention the previous trip 5 years ago we were unsure of the rules since we didnt have licenses and we were in an indian reservation. We had just road cruised our first ever mojave. So when a car started to come we stepped off the road w the snake in tongs fearing it could be border patrol since most the cars there were. My mom drove off and my brother and i hid in bushes w a mojave in tongs. I have the wider midwest tongs to be gentler on the snake and refuse to squeze tight and risk hurting the snake. So the snake starts slowly getting out. As we are seeing border patrol drive by in the total darkness i am telling my brother a deadly snake is slowly being released about 40 inches away bc i dont want to squeeze tighter and hurt it. Luckily like we all know on here snakes want to get away not hurt people like all the dumb people in the world think so when the border patrol was gone and our flashlights came back on we couldnt even find the snake again. Hoping some others have cool border patrol stories. That story of thrm reving up the rngine sounds like a scene from a horror movie. Haha

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 14th, 2016, 12:53 pm

Border Patrol have been the most herper-friendly in my encounters (compared to police, sheriffs, and highway patrol). If you talk to them, they can give you info on what's been moving recently etc. and more of them have been genuinely interested in the various herps than fearful or hateful of them.

My favorite experience was back in 2010. I had just left a private ranch in west Texas where I was staying and turned onto the main road after sunset. Shortly after accelerating to highway speed I saw something on the shoulder so I slammed on the brakes and turned around. I stopped and got out of my vehicle to discover a DOR blacktail rattlesnake, which would've been a lifer for me at the time. Within seconds of getting out of the car, I was surrounded by several BP cars and multiple officers, guns drawn and very excited. After I calmed them down and showed them what I was doing, they explained they thought I was a drug runner stopping to either pick up, or drop off, a bale of marijuana. They were young and fairly new to the job so it would've been a big deal for them to pull a major bust like that, so understandably they were disappointed when I turned out to be above-board. I told them I'd be out all night road cruising so they wouldn't get all worked up every time they saw my vehicle.

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jeremy Wright » August 14th, 2016, 6:47 pm

Hey Travis! Cool idea for a thread.

Like Jonathan, my only crazy experiences have been near Anza Borrego, but south out of the main park. My dad and I were shooting a little snake off the road maybe 60-80 feet or so, with our car parked on the shoulder. A border patrol rolled by and stopped by our car, and instantly turned on the spot lights on top of his explorer, illuminating a massive area near us. His first order was "Let me see your hands!" So I left my camera on the ground with the snake and raised my hands as he said. After realizing we were gringos haha he casually strolled over and asked us what we were doing and why we were here. He found interest in the snake too, asking what kind it was and looking at it close up for a few minutes. Really cool guy. We've been approached by the helipcopers too, especially when night hiking. They usually hover quite close but when they can see the camera gear and tripods they never come in closer. Funny enough, one night when this happened, all other BP suvs flashed or waved us when we were driving. It seems like the helicopter realized what we were doing and traced us back to our car parked at the trailhead. They seem to do a good job in Cali at least of telling other units our car is not a threat. Despite meeting BP at least a couple dozen times during my southern Arizona trip, all were calm and didn't stick along. Unlike California however it seemed like communication wasn't there, and we got stopped many times a night.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Brian Hubbs » August 14th, 2016, 10:21 pm

I got so tired of being stopped while road cruising in southern AZ that i made a foldable sign that says "I'm looking for reptiles. Get lost and don't bother me again." I just hold it outside the window of the car and they go away... :lol: Is that rude? :roll:

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jimi » August 15th, 2016, 11:27 am

About 5 yrs ago I was herping the main canyon in the Big Hatchets in the NM bootheel. After a sweet hike/hunt I was driving back out, across a nasty muddy valley bottom just a few intersections away from pavement. Coming towards me was a BP rig. I slowed but wasn't going to stop (and get stuck) in that wallow - he went around me, I waved and nodded. I stopped after the wallow - just in case he wanted to say hi - and he did indeed come back after turning around on drier ground. He drove past me & turned around again, to wind up facing the direction he meant to go (where I had just come out of). We had a nice friendly chat of some minutes' duration, 2 guys in their trucks facing opposite directions, windows all the way down, maybe 8 feet apart. He got a good long look at me, and I answered all his questions and asked a few of my own. We parted - at what I thought was his initiation - on what I also thought were excellent, but final, terms.

Wrong.

After making the next left turn, onto a nice fast dirt road, a series of 3 BP rigs wound up behind me, also headed towards pavement. Kinda riding my ass with highbeams on. Okey-dokey. Figuring they had more pressing business elsewhere I pulled over. Huh, so did they, behind me but hanging back a little bit, like they were being careful. Hmm, OK, can't blame them right? This is about 5 to maybe 8 miles from the border after all. A little bit sketchy country maybe. Juarez isn't that far away.

I slowly exited my vehicle, keeping my hands in view, and stood out in the middle of the road. They got out of their trucks, stayed behind their opened doors, and said hi. I mentioned my chat with one of their colleagues. I said "hey lemme make you comfortable and open up my back door so you can see I ain't got nothing you want" (I was driving my 4-runner). Then I just sat down on the back of my vehicle, rested my hands on my knees, and looked at them. Just as I was finishing that, well, up rolls the first guy. "Hi again" I says, "nice to see you again so soon. I guess you all want something from me?"

I don't know what the hell they thought they had. But they had me for a solid half-hour. Which of course felt like forever. Took my license, ran it through whatever databases etc they've got, asked some obvious questions. The Utah plates fascinated them, they were all young, mostly small-town, SW USA Latino guys. One local (Columbus or Hachita or some such), a couple south Texans, one I think from AZ, a city dude.

They were super nice, totally professional, obviously well-chosen and well-trained for low-conflict "friendly banter" with citizens. Truly, great employees of an important public agency. But I couldn't shake the feeling they probably had bigger fish to fry out there, and why on Earth were they wasting their time on me. I think they just couldn't buy my story about what I was doing, and figured maybe I was out there on a dope pickup or giving somebody a lift or whatever. It was obviously strange-looking (culturally foreign) to them, for a guy to drive 1000 miles from home, alone, and wind up in *the friggin boonies* just to enjoy his public lands. Alone, without a bunch of family or a crew.

I figured they must have had some drone imagery of me out there, looking under bushes, into rock crevices, walking up & across talus, flipping a few objects etc. Wondering what the hell I was doing. Looking like I was looking for something. Hell, I was, just not what they assumed.

This isn't a crazy story, it's just a normal story. I have a couple of vastly more unpleasant stories of dealings with other law-enforcement agencies. But I figured this BP interaction might give readers something to think about.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jon-m » August 15th, 2016, 12:56 pm

jonathan wrote:....The only time I got harassed at all was when I camped a ways off-road just a a couple km north of the BP checkpoint inside of A-B State Park. I had driven off onto a dirt road and parked the car off the road, then set up my camp well off the road behind some bushes. In the middle of the night a BP vehicle came down the road, stopped when they saw my car, and eventually figured out where my tent was. Then they shined the huge spotlight on the tent. I decided to just wait them out rather than getting out. They responded by reving their engines and rapidly pulling forward, then back, then forward, then back. It was weird - I couldn't figure out if they were trying to make a bunch of noise, spook me out of the tent, or what. I just stayed in the tent, and eventually they left without getting out of the cars themselves.
See, it's stories like this that make me very concerned as a citizen. I don't like to hunt, hike, camp, or herp unarmed for reasons that are valid to me, and above all, lawful. I'm careful about where I go and where I camp, and how I present myself, but in some places you can never shake the concern of some crazies getting the drop on you while you're out in the boonies somewhere with your mind wrapped up in snakes and such . If someone rolled up on me in the middle of the night while I'm trapped in a tent, shinning lights on me and revving engines and not properly announcing themselves I would've had a lot of thoughts going through my mind and they would not have been happy-go-lucky or friendly. I've met BP out and about while herping and most have been professional and thoughtful in how they initiate interactions with individuals. Some though.. some think every citizen they come across is subject to whatever aggressive and blunt tactics they deem appropriate for catching a Bad Guy In Action, and sometimes that ends up turning harmless situations into needlessly dangerous ones for everyone involved.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 15th, 2016, 2:30 pm

Twenty years ago I had just moved to Texas for the first time (of three, now). I still had Florida license plates on my car--a two-door, all-black sporty job with tinted windows. I was road-cruising in southern Texas around midnight. Coming to the end of my present road where it formed a "T" intersection with another road, I turned around to head back the way I came. Shortly after the turnaround, I got the flashing lights and pulled over. Two BP agents got out and asked what I was doing. Answering truthfully, at first they couldn't believe it, but I showed my ID (military at the time) and told them where I was stationed (San Antonio area). Turns out they were Reservists on the other side of San Antonio and BP was just their "day job," so we enjoyed a few minutes of jargon and acronyms before we parted ways. They said the reason they pulled me over was they thought I had turned around when I saw them (I never saw them), which initially aroused their suspicion; then they saw dark windows and out-of-state plates, on a car out in the middle of the night, so they assumed mine was a drug-related trip.

pythonregius3
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by pythonregius3 » August 15th, 2016, 6:09 pm

My favorite part has always been when i tell them where i am from and why i am there. It is so funny to me to see the shock on their face when they act like i am totally insane to come from indiana to Arizona to look for snakes. This trip they pulled us over once for swerving and stopping hard once when they saw us jump out and get back in thr car. They asked my brothers wife and when she told them she was avoiding hitting a toad they looked at her like she was totally insane. I guess they think it is a crazy hobby to travel to see herps. I think it is less crazy than a job that you have to deal with drugs and guns. I will take my chances w a rattlesnake over a crazy drug dealer w a gun any day.

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lateralis
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 15th, 2016, 7:58 pm

While enjoying the wilds of extreme SW Arizona a couple of years ago I was contacted by two "youngsters" on one of their first unsupervised patrols. They came screaming across the desert at Mach one convinced they had Pablo Escobar in their sights so you can imagine their surprise when they saw lil old me all alone at night in one of the most barren parts of the Sonoran desert. Well, as they asked me to come down to talk I politely informed them that I just spent an hour working my way up the hill I was on and if they wanted to chat they needed to put in the effort to come to me or wait till I made my way down. They chose to wait and I took my sweet time getting down, but as I neared the bottom of the slope my vantage point afforded me a superb view of the wash that twisted along the base of the hill and from about 150' away I saw the tell tail shine of a snake crawling between two shrubs. I quickly changed direction and headed towards the snake to the surprise of the two BP kids. They quickly asked me where I was going and I simply held up my hand to shush them and pointed. As I neared the snake I realized that I had left my camera in the car about a 100' away so I said " hey guys, see that snake?" "What snake" they replied, " the one about to crawl over your foot " says I. "Oh shite!" They said, I laughed and told them to keep their lights on the snake while I walked away to retrieve my camera. Well son of a gun if they didn't keep their lights on that snake during the time it took to grab the camera and return. Once I got back to them I asked them to keep the snake lit while I shot some pics, turn the ligh off to get flash pics and then I let the snake go on its way. They never asked me any of the "standard questions" and were amazed that I had seen the snake, " we never see anything out here" they said so I went into biologist mode and told them there was a lot to see but you had to slow down to see it. We parted ways and I found another 3 snakes before calling it a night. It was the only time I put my tax dollars to work in the field.
For the most part I have found bp to be professional and courteous, though I have had my share of knuckleheads. When I know they are going to be one of "those guys" I simply ask them whether I am being detained or free to go. If they say detained I tell them I'm done playing and have nothing further to say. After all we live in the USA and I didn't pass through fire and deep water in the USN protecting our constitutional rights to get treated with disrespect by someone who just finished BP academy. Be polite but remember you are a citizen enjoying the freedom of this country and not obligated to give your life story to a complete stranger just because they ask.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » August 16th, 2016, 4:17 am

pythonregius3 wrote:It is so funny to me to see the shock on their face when they act like i am totally insane to come from indiana to Arizona to look for snakes.
Imagine what you get if you're from Belgium. I still think that one guy that kept going on about waffles and his coin collection wasted our time to the extent of temps dropping and our chances of Oxybelis doing the same. ;) :(

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by BillMcGighan » August 16th, 2016, 6:15 am

I have to say that of all the law enforcement agencies I’ve encountered at 0-dark-thirty, herping, I’ve had only one “badge heavy” incident with Border Patrol.
Most, today, are just young ex-vets, trying to do a thankless job, often in hostile environments, targeting poor folks trying for a better life, but also dealing with potentially armed slime like drug runners and coyotes.
As far as your helicopter incident, they may have been a little bored, and maybe even screwing with you.

When you think about what we do, in areas close to the border, it should look suspicious to those who haven’t experienced us yet.
I’d just laugh it off, and chalk it off to a campfire tale memory.


My one BP, “badge heavy”, incident happened south of Alpine, TX. It was about 3 AM and I was driving back to Alpine, looking forward to that hotel bed.

I had already passed the BP station which was closed (this was pre-911), and I reached a hilly, windy area. I wasn’t going more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, but I wasn’t slowing for the turns.

I saw a BP car peripherally way off the road and just kept going. I then could see blue lights flashing way back over the hills in my rear view window.

I didn’t speed up nor slow down, since I couldn’t yet see his lights directly.

A few miles down the road, another BP car was on the wide shoulder with lights flashing and an officer flagging me down. I stopped. He was the usual polite BP LEO, and asked me to wait in the car.

About a full minute passed and the first officer finally pulled up. He was Barney Fife with his one bullet in his pocket! He was older than most you encounter today, maybe 50s, and hostile from the very start.

He must have been a “flat-lander” because he asked, why was I speeding away through the hills. I explained I wasn’t speeding.

He asked to search the car, so, in the interest of getting to the hotel a little sooner, I said, yes, but already I could tell he was a jerk (and I think the other officer was thinking this also.)

Evilly, I waited till he was well inside the car, only then did I casually mention that I was “snake hunting” and there was a harmless snake in a bag in the car console. :evil: ;)

He was quick to come out of my car.

The other officer, the calm one, now asked, "could you show it to us."
I said “sure” and brought the bag out and paused to struggle with the knot.
The calm officer asked more about the animal, a suboc, and stepped closer.

Barney stepped further back, then asked, “you’re not going to throw it on us, are you?”
I laughed and said, “of course not”, withdrew the animal, and the calm officer stepped closer to admire it and ask questions about what they ate, where they lived, etc.

Barney was visibly shaking, which confirmed my theory that “badge heavy” LEOs are just frightened people who often present a false bravado for defense. :roll:

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Fieldherper
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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Fieldherper » August 16th, 2016, 9:35 am

I have almost always had good interactions with BP in CA, AZ, NM, and TX. I am usually reassured by their presence in many of these areas. When entering a particular area near the border, you usually see them parked on the side of the road and I will frequently stop to introduce myself and let them know I will be in the area. I also ask them if there are particular areas to avoid. They often enjoy talking snakes/critters and I try to educate them on what is found in the area (which many already know).

I do recall one incident 20 years ago when I took a Spring break trip with my girlfriend through So Cal into AZ. We were headed across I-8 W. of Yuma at night when I saw the sign for "Sidewinder Road." How can you not stop at a place with that name? So we pulled off the highway onto the road and made one quick pass without seeing anything. It was late and we decided to continue heading toward AZ. When we got onto the highway, there was a BP truck waiting, which started following us. It was joined by another, and another, and then a van and then a helicopter overhead. The lights go on and we pull to the side. My gf is fumbling to put her shoes on and I asked to just put her hands on the dash. We get approached by several agents with hand on guns.

After seeing that it's two college kids looking for snakes, they look dejected. I open up the back at their request and reveal camping gear and a huge cube of Mountain Dew. The lead guy says, "The only violation I see is that you're over your limit on Mtn. Dew, we'll let it slide, have a safe trip."

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jimi » August 16th, 2016, 9:42 am

I have almost always had good interactions with BP in CA, AZ, NM, and TX. I am usually reassured by their presence in many of these areas. When entering a particular area near the border, you usually see them parked on the side of the road and I will frequently stop to introduce myself and let them know I will be in the area. I also ask them if there are particular areas to avoid. They often enjoy talking snakes/critters and I try to educate them on what is found in the area (which many already know).
Probably the best little snippet of text in this topic. "This is what you do." Good one.

cheers

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 16th, 2016, 4:42 pm

From the perspective of LE, pulling someone over in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, has to be a little uneasy. In Texas, we have a fairly-recent law that if you're out herping the rights-of-way (roads are still off-limits), you have to wear a reflective safety vest. It sounded goofy when it was first enacted, but now it's not only an easy way to identify fellow herpers when out and about, it may have a calming effect for LE who immediately knows "OK, these are those crazy people out looking for snakes...crazy but not going to shoot me."

At least until the smugglers, coyotes, etc. catch on and start wearing the vests... :?

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by pythonregius3 » August 17th, 2016, 12:12 pm

Thanks for all the stories and replies. I did want to mention i too think most of the BP we ran into on this trip and the prior trip were super nice people. I also think the helicopter was first seeing if we were doing something shady then messing with us or just having some fun but it sucked for us bc we just wanted to enjoy the snake and it was stressful to the snake. We found several atrox but this was the one we had a good chance to spend some time without almost getting run over so it sucked to be chased off. We did run into one on the indian reservation that was really nice to us but he was clearly a total racist. He told us that most the natives drove drunk and once he saw a group of them flip their car five times. Even said it was funny. Thats right. People almost died in a car crash and he found it to be funny. Other that racist dude the other border patrol guys were all super nice people.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Steve Bledsoe » August 17th, 2016, 4:19 pm

I've met many a U.S. Border Patrolman over the years while road cruising in the middle of the night, and I have to say that all of them have been professional and friendly with the exception of one. It was 2:30 in the morning and I guess maybe the guy had a bad day - who knows?

My craziest BP story is that one night in south-central Arizona I got pulled over 10 times on the same night while road cruising back and forth on the same 6 or 7 mile long stretch of desert highway with two of my young grandsons. The ridiculous part of the story is that three of those times, it was by the same officer! Go figure. :?

On the other hand, I've been stopped once by ATF Agents, and I hope that never happens again. While road cruising late one night on a fairly well known road in southern California, Dick Dunn and I were stopped by a couple of Federal Agents in a black SUV. After blinding us with the rack of flood lights mounted on top of their vehicle, both of them jumped out with M4 rifles pointed at us, yelling for us to get out of the car with our hands up. A little unnerving to say the least!

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Fieldnotes » August 18th, 2016, 10:59 am

I have a pretty cool border patrol and helicopter story from Imperial County, CA. While solo-herping next to the border with several bight flashlights, including one brighter than a car's headlight, I heard the darked-out (lights off) helicopter flying over the border toward me. Then it made what seemed a loop around me, as if not to disturb my search. After swerving around me and my bright lights, it quickly regained its course over the border. I thought that was pretty cool.

I must point out when i arrived at the study site earlier that evening, I waved down a border patrol truck and told the officer what i was up to and that i hoped not to cause any trouble. The officer replied, "this is your land and we are here for you, if we do our job right you shouldn't even know we're here. :thumb:

Alas, i also have bad border patrol stores too :?

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 18th, 2016, 11:04 am

Hey Steve did they (atf) identify themselves first? That approach is a recipe for disaster and I hope this was stated to them after the dust settled. At the very least I would have given them an earful for pointing a weapon at me without just cause and most certainly would have collected names and badge numbers and made a call to their supervisor. This incident could have gone south REAL fast.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jimi » August 18th, 2016, 11:12 am

maybe the guy had a bad day - who knows?
Exactly. It always helps to keep in the forefront of one's mind that these are normal (sometimes damaged) human beings with normal (sometimes not-always-great) human lives. Good days, bad days, etc. Besides giving the other guy some slack, it also helps you maintain your defensive edge - which when dealing with cops mostly looks like "DO NOT aggravate this person!".
stopped once by ATF Agents
Eeewwww. It can't be fun getting pulled over by the guys who are hunting outlaw gun runners. They've gotta be twitchy. Having them pull you over, thinking you might be an outlaw gun runner? No thanks. My God.

Over the course of this thread I've sat and thought about the (jeez, what is it? 3-4 dozen?) field interactions I've had with cops, in all their splendid diversity. I wound up thinking, my general, declining order of preference of interactions looks something like "federal, state, city, university, Indian, county, dogcatcher". Like, it's hard to get hired on - and retained - as a federal or even state LEO, while a pulse and 6 hours of sobriety might get you a dogcatcher's badge in some jurisdictions. There's gotta be less screening and training and re-cert hoops, etc, the more local and especially small-town you get. My experience, opinion, bias etc, anyway.
you have to wear a reflective safety vest. It sounded goofy when it was first enacted, but now
Personally, I like the vest. Drivers see you, they're less likely to hit you (unless drunk I suppose), they're less likely to stop and ask you if you're OK (because you look "vaguely official", cops see you, it's obvious you're not trying to hide, etc etc etc. I take my Texas vest to other states now. I just like it. ANSII class 3, people.
this is your land and we are here for you
I like that attitude! The first part of that ("my land") is what I was trying to get across to the guys I described. Like, I'm not gonna cede an inch of it. Their attitude was "well, that's all good, but you gotta understand there is some seriously sketchy sh!t gone down round here". I told them I get that, and having them around made me feel a whole lot better. That, and my big pistol. Ha ha. Repeat, "not ceding an inch".
We did run into one on the indian reservation...
There was a topic related to this here once. Reservations are best avoided in general, unless you've bought their hunting/fishing license and it covers herping. If you go back to Tucson, I highly encourage you to stay off the nearby big res.
... but he was clearly a total racist. He told us that most the natives drove drunk and once he saw a group of them flip their car five times.
Uh, that might have sounded racist, and he might have been "a" racist, but...consider the fact that he actually works there, and he has seen what he has seen, and you've been there exactly once, and you ain't seen nothin'. Yet, anyway.

Not. Yet.

Consider the speed and bad - or chemically-impaired - judgement required to flip a car five times. Or even just three times - maybe he was exaggerating (maybe, maybe not). And the force imparted by that speed times that mass. If that guy saw that accident, he probably worked on the accident report, which involves ascribing a cause for the accident. Excessive speed, plus booze? Any takers? Again, I highly encourage you to "..." (finish it for me, would you please?). Take care of yourself, OK, because this world will not. Think of your mother, do her a favor.

cheers

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by dwakefield » August 18th, 2016, 12:21 pm

This was a very informative/entertaining thread! I haven't herped close to a border yet, but I hope to get to west Texas/southern Arizona at some point.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by BillMcGighan » August 18th, 2016, 1:20 pm

Jimi
Over the course of this thread I've sat and thought about the (jeez, what is it? 3-4 dozen?) field interactions I've had with cops, in all their splendid diversity. I wound up thinking, my general, declining order of preference of interactions looks something like "federal, state, city, university, Indian, county, dogcatcher"
When talking about different agencies, Jimi, I have to add one more type, equal to or less than dogcatcher: National Park temporary personnel.


Sometimes their enthusiasm makes them a little over zealous. I can't tell you how many times I've had a National Park volunteer or summer helper stop and aggressively start spouting the rules to me or folks, I was standing next to, when no one as doing anything against the rules!
One example comes to mind where I had a young volunteer started yelling at me while I was wading 10 yards off shore in the Yellowstone River, fishing for huge Cutthroat Trout. She yelled that I was in a restricted part of the river and couldn’t fish there. When I disagreed, she got even more hostile. She was, of course, wrong, so I told her she better check her maps and leave the law enforcement to professionals. Just then, by chance, a real ranger showed up and he informed her that this was, in fact, legal waters.
She had all good intentions and just cared about protecting the park just a little too much.



Dwakefield, don’t let these stories deter you from a trip to NM, AZ, or TX. As many of us stated, 99% of the interactions are fine and understandable. Our tales are exceptions, not rules.

In some border areas, don’t be surprised if you’re stopped 4 or 5 agencies in a single night; other nights, nothing.
I even had one wildlife warden leave a DOR Baird’s Ratsnake for me to see at the Border control station that he knew I must pass through.


In general it is still worth mentioning that our attitude in the initial contact can set the feeling of the whole interaction.
One good rule to follow is to not lie about anything. To some LEOs, even a small lie is cause for more detainment, more questions, and more precious time not herping. I know at least one LEO who takes lying very personal and he treats suspects accordingly.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by John Martin » August 18th, 2016, 9:37 pm

Border patrol related, but actual interaction was with AZ DPS/Highway Patrol officer. First of all I have, as many others have, had more than a few interactions with Border Patrol agents - all of them painless. This particular night I was returning to Tucson from a night of road cruising, driving north on I-19. Shortly after entering the interstate I noticed a car ahead sitting in the median with its headlights shining across the northbound lanes. It was a DPS cruiser which I watched in my rear view after passing. Sure enough he pulled onto the highway and soon sped up to me and put his lights on. After immediately pulling over he approached the driver side door whereupon I told him I had a loaded Glock .40 on the seat beside me. His reaction? "I don't care about that, I'm just working with Border Patrol and checking any cars entering the highway off of the ramp you just used". I couldn't believe his nonchalance! He was totally friendly and told me to have a good evening. Funniest BP story: Four of us were returning from Nogales (I-19 again) after dinner and many shots of tequila. My friend's wife was driving, being the most sober. My friend reached over and removed her bra from under her shirt LOL! He then, shirtless and being silly, put it on. Just then the BP checkpoint came up and we had to exit and drive through it. When the officer bent down to check us out his reaction was one of total disgust and he vigorously waved us through. Haha, he must have thought he had a car full of cross dressing pervs. We were laughing all the way home.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by pythonregius3 » August 20th, 2016, 4:55 am

I don't know how to copy and past parts of other peoples posts so sorry this won't look right but as far as the racist BP guy i do agree he works there and has seen a lot more than me. I have been there on two different trips for a total of 5 or so nights so not just once but yes i haven't been there enough to really know the native people very well. I have met and talked to probably 20 or so people between going to gas stations and seeing a few local cops and people when stopped to see animals there. I agree that isn't the place we should herp as we aren't really supposed to be there but we randomly found the place and had great luck there 5 years ago so we couldn't help but go back some even though we know we shouldn't have.

As far as the racist guy it is possible i guess he isn't racist and he might just hate people that drink i drive but he was talking as if all native americans on that reservation drink and drive. To me that is a 100% racist comment. Maybe a lot of them do this and maybe he has seen this a lot as he clearly has more experience working there and i have only been there a few times. I am a white person from Indiana and i can tell you from being in any park i have ever been in here in Indiana or traveling across any other State i have been to you can find piles of beer cans or broken beer bottles about any where along any park road where idiots have been drinking so you know some of them are drinking and driving. There are mostly white people where i live (yes of course there are other races but more white people than other races) but i don't go around after seeing this and tell everyone i see that most white people drink and drive even though i have seen evidence that clearly many of them do. You can also look in the news paper on any given day and see tons of DUI's showing this of any given race to back up a stupid racist comment like this.

My problem with what he said was more so with him stating it was "funny" that they flipped 5 times. I am completely against drunk driving. i don't even drink personally and only have a few drinks a year and have never drove after drinking myself. However no matter what race you are or how many drinks or what drugs you are on if you get in a serious car accident i don't think it is ever a "funny" situation no matter how you slice it. that is what i didn't like about the guy and why i called him a racist b/c he was calling an entire race that has been treated like garbage ever since my race found this country alcoholics and then it was funny 5 of them almost died on their small sliver of land we "let" them keep.

I am getting off my soap box now about this. Thanks to all of you for your posts. Sorry for getting on a rant there. I just really don't like racist people that hate people for no good reason and this guy really pissed me off on that night if you can't tell already. I couldn't tell him that since he had a gun so i guess i am taking out my frustration here. sorry.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by BillMcGighan » August 20th, 2016, 9:11 am

Just two tips to curtail badge heavy LEOs, which again, I have to say are the exception, not the rule. (These may have tempered you racist.) Generally, they don't want the higher ups to know about their actions (and may already have reports against them.)


1. Ask for the badge number, but make no threats. It's better to keep them wondering!
2. If you have a voice or video recorder, cell phone app, or other, ask if he or she minds if you record the interaction.


A badge heavy LEO generally changes attitude with either or both of these.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Steve Bledsoe » August 20th, 2016, 12:20 pm

lateralis wrote:Hey Steve did they (atf) identify themselves first? That approach is a recipe for disaster and I hope this was stated to them after the dust settled. At the very least I would have given them an earful for pointing a weapon at me without just cause and most certainly would have collected names and badge numbers and made a call to their supervisor. This incident could have gone south REAL fast.
Hey "lateralis"
Sorry for the late reply - haven't been following this thread for the past couple of days.

No - they didn't identify themselves at anytime during the encounter, and I didn't give them any grief about it either. We recognized who they were by their uniforms. One of the officers did all of the talking and seemed to be the most aggressive of the two. They both impressed me as being in their early 40's or maybe late 30's. They stopped us as I was making a turnabout on the narrow forestry road, and caught us by surprise when I had the car perpendicular to the road in the middle of my turnabout. When we got out of the car the one officer of course asked what we were doing. When I told him, he asked me if I knew anything about that particular road. I responded that all I knew about the road was that is was a public road and we had every right to be there, and had been there many times before. The officer then relaxed a bit and actually explained that they had that section of the road staked out because the area was a known drug drop point, or something to that effect.

I agree that the situation could have spiraled out of control very easily. The two officers, especially the one doing all the talking, were pretty wound up when they got out of their vehicle with their weapons trained on us. I try to put myself in the officer's situation when I get stopped in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. I always think that if it was me, I'd be pretty nervous, so I always try to remain as calm as possible and never get combative. I'm usually armed, and don't want any armed law officers to think I'm a threat.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 20th, 2016, 12:27 pm

1. Ask for the badge number, but make no threats. It's better to keep them wondering!
2. If you have a voice or video recorder, cell phone app, or other, ask if he or she minds if you record the interaction.
Sound advice BUT you do not need to ask their permission as I understand the law, you simply need to inform them that you are recording the event in order to keep everyone honest. LEO can record the contact and DO NOT need your permission so keep things on an even playing field and tell them you are recording the audio at the very least, for your own protection. I have seen too many instances of LEO lying on reports and "embellishing" the contact to fit their needs. Of course the most important thing to know is when to keep your trap shut - you are under NO obligation to answer anything beyond the request for license and registration. Ask any lawyer, they'll all tell you that you are a fool if you talk once you have been detained because at that point, you are under a type of arrest, they just haven't put the bracelets on yet...

Paranoid? Maybe, but then any LEO who try's to be your "buddy" during a contact is just trying to make you feel comfortable enough to incriminate yourself if at all possible - why make it easy??

...and I know not all LEO are bad apples, but nobody knows how to discern which one is which...be smart, be polite, be respectful, but don't put trust in someone you just met.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 20th, 2016, 12:40 pm

Hi Steve,
No worries and good on you for being calm, cool and collected. I really do appreciate the fact that LEO of any kind have it rough in the field but to immediately train automatic weapons on someone is flat out irresponsible; accidents happen, people slip, get nervous, or whatever and that is the point I would have made because at that point my life is being threatened and I will not tolerate it since it seems all too often bad shoots go unpunished these days. Hence the reason I would have asked for badge numbers and names, and would be on the phone with their office immediately. We don't live in a war zone and consequently shouldn't be made to feel as if we do.

Stay safe everyone!

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by TravisK » August 23rd, 2016, 10:24 am

I am a little concerned about how easily people are letting BP/LEO search their vehicles. Are you required to let them if they pull you over down there? I know if you are being 'detained' it's a different story.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by BillMcGighan » August 23rd, 2016, 12:13 pm

Are you required to let them if they pull you over down there?

Short answer is “No”
You still have constitutional rights concerning search and seizure; nothing wrong with this.
Even level headed LEOs will often ask if you'd mind if the search, just to see your body language reaction.
You can always say no.

General exceptions where they can search without a warrant:
... Military bases, and specialized DOD installations. (I don't know about Indian Reservations.)
... You have given the officer consent
... The officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in your vehicle
... The officer reasonably believes a search is necessary for their own protection (a hidden weapon, for example)
... You have been arrested and the search is related to that arrest (such as a search for illegal drugs)
... Car has been impounded.


All that said, posturing to “protect your rights” is great,
,,,however,,,


You may ask yourself, if your car is clean, do you want to be be cooperative and get back to herping, or do you want to sit out in the boonies during prime herping time for an extra hour, waiting for a K9 unit to drive out to you position? Your decision…

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 23rd, 2016, 2:21 pm

Steve Bledsoe wrote:We recognized who they were by their uniforms.
*Not valid along some parts of the border... :?

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 23rd, 2016, 2:25 pm

BillMcGighan wrote:You may ask yourself, if your car is clean, do you want to be be cooperative and get back to herping, or do you want to sit out in the boonies during prime herping time for an extra hour, waiting for a K9 unit to drive out to you position? Your decision…

I'm very much on the fence with this concept. I resent the mentality of "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide" which seems to open the door to all manner of civil rights/privacy violations. On the other hand, like you say, many of us would simply give in just to get the ordeal over with more quickly.

The LEO clearly has the upper hand in this situation...you want to move on to your entertainment for the night (finding herps). For the LEO, you ARE the entertainment...maybe the only stop they'll get the whole week (depending on location, weather, time of year, etc.) to break up the boredom.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 23rd, 2016, 3:10 pm

You may ask yourself, if your car is clean, do you want to be be cooperative and get back to herping, or do you want to sit out in the boonies during prime herping time for an extra hour, waiting for a K9 unit to drive out to you position? Your decision…
A good point but I would ask, what the probable cause is exactly and record their answer for sure.

There is cooperation (giving them your license, registration, and insurance) and then there is giving up your rights (anything beyond the previously mentioned items). Regardless, what if there is something in the car from days gone by such as an open container your buddy left under the seat while you were working on the car in the garage, he forgot to mention it and you didn't make sure your car was clean before heading to the field. Now you have given them a reason to run you through the DUI program and you have nobody to blame but yourself. No LEO is going to pass up that easy ticket, if one thinks that LEO is truly concerned about your future I have a bridge I can sell you real cheap. It is unfortunate, and I really would like to trust LEO but the current state of the world dictates that I do not because once they have you in the system they will not let you go, it's called revenue. For myself, I will think only of me and what a bogus ticket would do to my career, my future, and my family. Once you give consent to search the burden of proof for probable cause flys out the window. Does anyone Honestly think LE wants to cooperate with YOU or is concerned about YOUR future?? Be smart, be safe, but don't be naive.

BTW a warden does not need consent if it appears that you are engaged in hunting or fishing, in other words a snake stick, fishing pole or long gun is cause enough. But you should still refrain from giving it up for free.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Steve Bledsoe » August 23rd, 2016, 4:21 pm

I’ve been stopped too many times to remember while herping, but I have never been asked to grant permission for a search. I guess I’ll never know how I’m going to react until it actually happens, and then how I react may depend a lot on the attitude of the officer. Call me naïve, but I like to believe that the great majority of LE officers are decent people.

A good friend of mine, Kent VanSooy, whom many on this forum knew, was faced with this very situation one afternoon on his way home to southern California from Arizona a few years ago. The long version of this story is pretty interesting, but better perhaps for another time. To make a long story short, a few miles after crossing the state border into California, Kent was pulled over by a very "motivated" young CA Fish & Wildlife officer who was acting on some erroneous information that he (Kent) was smuggling gila monsters. When confronted with the decision of allowing the officer to search the vehicle, Kent, who had nothing to hide, decided that it was better to let the officer take a look, find nothing, and then be on his way, as opposed to ending up with the same results after spending long hours in the hot desert sun waiting for the search warrant to arrive. He allowed the search which of course produced no gilas or any other contraband, and the incident ended up being a 45 minute delay instead of one that could very well have taken many hours.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 23rd, 2016, 4:54 pm

Wow sounds like Kent was the victim of a very sick joke or one malicious SOB, I'd be very interested to hear the long version.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Steve Bledsoe » August 24th, 2016, 9:17 am

I can only tell this story as I recall Kent telling it to me. Bill “billboard” Townsend was there with Kent, so if you read this, Bill, please add or correct anything that you feel is needed.

Kent, Bill and a young friend of Bill’s (who’s name I don’t know) were on a camping/herping trip in SE Arizona. Bill’s friend was evidently a newbie to the herping hobby, and came along as Bill’s guest. They had a good trip and found a number of their target species including a couple of gilas.

Kent said that on their way home, when they crossed the CA state line, he noticed that a CDFW vehicle had immediately picked him up and was tailing him. After a short distance, Kent pulled over. As I recall, the officer didn’t pull him over, but Kent could tell that it was likely it was going to happen, so he initiated the stop.

Kent said that this young officer seemed to be excited and very sure of himself when he informed them that they were under suspicion of smuggling gila monsters into California. Of course this accusation immediately raised Kent’s curiosity, because they had done nothing that could have given this officer any reason to think that they were herpers, or that they had any animals with them. Kent said that it was obvious that this officer was confident that he was about to score a big bust.

Knowing that they had nothing to hide, and going through the scenario explained above about whether or not to allow a search, Kent decided to let the officer have his wish. Of course, after searching the vehicle and going through the photos in everyone's cameras, the officer came up empty handed. Kent said it was obvious that the officer was not only disappointed, but puzzled at the fact that he didn’t find anything. The fact that this officer was so sure that he had caught our guys red-handed, really made Kent wonder what the heck was going on.

When back on the road, Kent asked Bill and his young friend if they had told anyone anything about their herping activities that might have raised false suspicions. What they eventually figured out was that there was a lady in the campground where they were staying who was very friendly and interested in herps and birds and nature in general. Kent said that she was obviously a frequent visitor to the campground, and engaged them in conversation several times during their stay. Bill’s young friend said that at one point during their stay, this lady asked what they had found the night before, and he told her that they had found a gila, and had actually found two gilas during their stay. I don’t recall exactly, but the young man may have used the term “caught”, which always throws up red flags.

With this information, Kent and Bill deduced that this lady took whatever Bill’s friend told her to mean that they captured two gilas. And she, being a good citizen and a conscientious citizen naturalist, reported it to the AZ Game and Fish Department along with a description of the three herpers, their vehicle and license plate number. (BTW: Neither Kent nor I fault anyone for doing what we think this lady did. If people are caught poaching, the proper thing for any of us to do is to report it). The mystery soon became, how did the California DFW get involved?

After discussing this with Kent, we concluded that the chain of events probably went something like this: The good lady camper reported the suspected poaching event to AZGFD. The AZGFD, now knowing that their suspects were from California, figured that they were going to take their illegal booty back to CA, which would open up a huge can of legal worms. Not only would the AZGFD be able to bust our friends on multiple counts of poaching AZ State protected species, but they could also prosecute for transporting those animals out of the state. To sweeten the deal, by informing the CDFW of what was coming their way, and allowing our guys to physically cross the state line into California, the CDFW could also prosecute for transporting protected venomous species into CA, and for possession of CA protected species. Not being lawyers, I’m sure the list of prosecutable offenses in a case like this is a lot longer than anything we can think of. It may also have qualified on a Federal level under the Lacey Act. I don’t know.

So, the moral of this story is, even though you’re not doing anything illegal when herping, it’s best not to tell anyone you don’t know what it is you’re doing, because a slight misunderstanding could very easily come back to bite you in the butt!

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by lateralis » August 24th, 2016, 6:28 pm

Thanks for sharing Steve, that is truly unfortunate.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by TravisK » August 29th, 2016, 3:04 pm

BillMcGighan wrote:You may ask yourself, if your car is clean, do you want to be be cooperative and get back to herping, or do you want to sit out in the boonies during prime herping time for an extra hour, waiting for a K9 unit to drive out to you position? Your decision…
If you are told told you are not being detained, if you were they can search iirc, you can just say goodbye and drive away from what I understand.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Gary N » September 5th, 2016, 8:23 pm

I've had plenty of good encounters with the Border Patrol, tipping them off to illegal immigrants I've seen who were asking me for help, and getting herping advice from them, but this was my craziest and worst encounter with them.

I drove past the Border Patrol headquarters in Campo, California continuing a very short distance to the border fence where a few dozen border vigilantes were waving American flags and anti-immigration signs and wearing their usual phony-soldier uniforms being filmed in front of the wall by some network news people with a white satellite van. I laughed then drove off to look for Cope's Leopard lizards on public land which I had as much right to be on as the Border Patrol. I told several of the BP officers I passed that I was searching for lizards to photograph. Each one of them reponded only by putting on his best mean mug and not saying a word.

I don't know why I bother to tell these guys the truth because it only makes me look more suspicious in their minds. They think that if you're not guilty you don't try to defend your actions. Brian Hubbs has a better approach. I was with him near the border in Arizona when a BP guy asked where we were going and Hubbs just said "We're going down to Mexico, I hear that's where the jobs are." Then we just drove off watching the confused expression still on his face.

After about an hour of hunting for lizards, a helicopter hovered low above me, making searching impossible, so I drove back to the Border Patrol Hive, with the helicopter still above me, only to find 5 or 6 BP vehicles with lights flashing and BP officers out behind their doors hands on their guns waiting to greet me. The irony of seeing the phony vigilante press photo-op then being treated like a major criminal was too much for me and I jumped out of the car and started screaming at them, telling them I had a right to be there and they had no right to stop me. I realized later that I probably should have been shot dead on the spot, and I'll certainly never do that again, but somehow it actually worked. I think they were so shocked at seeing a herper fight for his rights that they backed down. They did try to lie to me that I was trespassing and driving on private roads, but I called them on the lies and drove off without having my car searched or even showing them my ID.

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Re: Craziest Border Patrol Story

Post by Jimi » September 6th, 2016, 1:22 pm

Oh that is an unpleasant encounter. A waste - a taking - of your excursion in pursuit of happiness.
The irony of seeing the phony vigilante press photo-op then being treated like a major criminal was too much for me
Mmmyeah. It would get me like that too. "Go bug the jackholes why don't ya?!?!? Why you wanna mess with me?!?!?"
I don't know why I bother to tell these guys the truth because it only makes me look more suspicious in their minds.
From my story earlier in this topic, this is exactly what was going on in my head as the engagement appeared inevitable. I decided it would make me look "way too freaky" to fully spill the beans on what I was doing - searching out rattlesnakes - so I just said I was out getting some quiet alone time, without the spouse/job/kids/parents/dogs/money/religion "complicated & stressful life stuff" everyone can relate to. And in truth, that's what field herping is to me, besides the actual hunt. It's Desert Solitaire time. Some folks get it, some folks just don't. I think maybe Latinos might not get is as much, they seem to like doing stuff more together, with family. It's all good.

Anyway, like I said, I figured they had drone imagery and maybe actual eyes-on, with me doing "suspicious" stuff like peering under sotols and nolinas, staggering across talus, etc. But my attitude was & is, "none of their damn business". I was & am in full compliance with the law, and unless they have probable cause to take some kind of exploratory action against me, my personal business is just that. Far as they're concerned, I'm just out enjoying nature, and the property held in trust for me. Which is nothing but the truth, and most of the whole truth. I just take it to a slightly deviant place - I like herps, especially vipers. Ha ha ha. That part, it's often better to hold back, I reckon.

You know it's sad that we all actually have many more pleasant or neutral experiences, but the bad ones are the ones that stick out, that we tell other people. So here's one that's not bad. A couple weeks ago a buddy and I arrived back at our camp (S AZ) to find a couple BP agents on 4-wheelers hanging out real close by. Like, conversational-voice distance. Turns out they were playing catchers at the mouth of the little draw we were camped at, and they had some drivers at the top of the draw, trying to push a couple migrants down to the catchers (and our camp, ha ha...). Anyway, we all hung out chatting in a friendly way, sharing pictures and snake stories, and talking a little work stuff, until they had to tear off on their machines to continue their hunt elsewhere. They never even suggested a desire for identification, to look through our stuff, nothing like that. Another normal, not crazy, BP story - but neutral, not negative. In the spirit of fairness...

cheers

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