Skip to comments.Boat owners say they were fearful during Coast Guard search
Posted on 09/22/2005 2:42:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Two of the Moss Landing Harbor residents who were the subjects of random boat searches during Labor Day Weekend say their experiences were closer to armed invasions than the friendly "safety inspections" characterized by U.S. Coast Guard officials.
Both residents said search crews entered the harbor in inflatable boats with machine guns mounted on their bows. Then, carrying M-16 rifles, they approached residents and boarded and searched their boats in the name of safety and "homeland security."
One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear or retribution, said his experience was "very intimidating, very frightening."
"To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina," he said. "I don't want my name on their list."
Scott Jones, a live-aboard resident who was searched, said there has been talk in the harbor about contacting the American Civil Liberties Union, but he first wants to hear further from the Coast Guard about its future intentions.
Lt. Mark Warren of the Monterey Coast Guard Station said he has heard mostly positive response to the operation, but may rethink future actions given current criticisms.
"We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it," he said. "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will."
In addition to trying to ensure the safety of boats on the bay during the holiday weekend, Warren said, the operation was part of an effort to increase the public's awareness of the Coast Guard's role as a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. He said the public might have been surprised to see weaponry that is now standard issue to all Homeland Security forces.
"I, as a U.S. citizen, am highly offended by that," said Jones, who is accustomed to Coast Guard boardings when he sails. "When a sheriff's deputy drives down the road or a CHP officer drives down the road and I see them, I'm aware of his job, and not because he's pulled me over and put a gun to my head.
"The Coast Guard's needs would be better served by an advertising campaign," he said, "rather than bullying people in their bedrooms at 10:30 at night."
Jones said he and his wife were sleeping when they were awakened by knocking on the side of the boat.
He went to the deck and was confronted by two armed officers asking if they could come aboard. Thinking something had happened in the harbor that the officers needed to talk to him about, Jones acquiesced.
"It seemed a little unreasonable at 10:30 at night," he said, "but it was the middle of the night and I was half asleep, so I said 'OK.' At this point, I looked out and saw six to eight officers (on the dock) and all appeared armed."
The officers boarded his boat and quickly spread out beyond the immediate deck without invitation, saying they were conducting a safety inspection.
"I can say with all certainly that what they did was not a safety inspection or in any way related to a safety inspection," he said. The officers demanded access to the bilge, saying they wanted to make sure the boat wasn't taking on water.
"This was highly suspect," Jones said. "If you're on board, you'd know if you were taking on water."
When Jones showed them the bilge, the officers repeatedly, and with increasing forcefulness, demanded to know if there were other accesses to the bilge. They also "demanded" the driver's licenses of everyone on board.
Increasingly upset by the nature of the search, Jones asked for the officers' authority and justification. One officer read to him from a federal code authorizing the search.
"It was either the Patriot Act or homeland security,"Jones said.
Warren said the officers would not have cited the Patriot Act because it affords the Coast Guard no additional authority.
Jones conceded he may have heard "homeland security" and registered "Patriot Act," but still feels the search was unwarranted and in a gray area of the law at best.
"I wouldn't question their professionalism, but I do question their motive and their authority," he said. "To me, it sounds like something that an ACLU lawyer would just tear apart."
Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.
Warren said the officers were attempting to ensure the safety and compliance of docked boats by checking for oily water in their bilges and that their sanitation devices were in locked position. Some searches were conducted at night in an effort to catch boats before they went onto the bay for the weekend.
The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.
"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.
"The only terrorists down here are you guys," he told them. "You're scaring the hell out of me with that machine gun."
While Warren was noncommittal about future searches, he said it is important for the public to know the Coast Guard's presence will be increased.
"The Coast Guard's focus on homeland security has increased our presence on the water and will continue to increase our presence simply because that's what Congress is wanting us to do right now," he said. "The concern at the congressional level about the security of ports is pretty high."
You obviously have a problem with authority. Coast Guard members don't ransack property. This wasn't even mentioned in the goofy article/story. Are warrants required? Why are you so upset about our CG doing what it is supposeed to do? Would you have been upset if the CG found a hidden compartment full of smuggled humans destined for the slave trade? They rescued over 9,000 people since last October alone! And, how about drugs? They intercepted more than 150,000 pound of cocaine on the Pacific side alone. Yes, that was pounds.
Here are some statistics for you to digest before you lose your composure again:
The second link is straight to the USCG for statistics on smuggling people.
Here is a link to the drug statistics: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-o/g-opl/Drugs/Statswww.htm
Enjoy the reading and let me know if you need more information to help you form your thoughts a little more clearly.
I normally agree with property rights, but boats aren't like my home- they serve recreational and transportation needs only. Simply choosing to live on a boat doesn't change that.
It looks like a great start. When you have updates, let us know.
So, here we are again....another silly comment you've made. Shall the judges be armed and guard our borders? Is that the job you think they should have? Or, do you think we should leave it to the grown-ups?
Every family is subject to be searched. Why the suggestion that military families are left alone? Come on! I doubt these people had loaded machine guns aimed at them. I have been stopped while driving to work in rush hour traffic ----IN UNIFORM!! So, that deflates your theory that military members or their families aren't prone to be harrassed. How sensitive should they be? See the link to the CG statistics on how many pounds of drugs and smuggled people they find every year. Here are the links again, in case you missed that one: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-o/g-opl/Drugs/Statswww.htm and http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-o/g-opl/AMIO/FlowStats/USCG.htm
Thank you for the kind words and faith in our service members. There is quite a bit of negativity towards the people protecting our borders in this thread. I thought I mistakenly ended up at a left-wing forum....
Good to know there are more like me out there.......
I resent the "jackboot" reference- these are AMERICANS not Germans. Who will you expect to guard the coasts? Anyone? Do you think it's even necessary?
Granted, if the search was "payback", there needs to be UCMJ action taken against those guilty servicemen. If not, which I suspect, the owners of the boats should be thankful the CG weren't sleeping when they were. The first group they'd blame if anything happened to them while they were out there would be the CG. I hope they never get stranded and have to eat a little crow when the CG shows up and are respectful and courteous- like they should be.
Calling a late night search for contraband a safety inspection is uncalled for. Call it what it is.
Or looking down on us.
Do you think I GAF what you think. The term is applicable. Our law enforcemnt in this country is rapidly turning into Jackboots who think they aren't civilians. As to the Coast Gaurd anyone who seizes someone's property over 4 mariuana seeds is a jackboot.
Great article. Thanks for the post.
People are responsible for their individual actions. Even if they are following orders. If they don't like the order they can do something else for cash or they can serve time in a prison. That said those out waving machine guns at people, for no other reason but they are there, and they want the money, should know in the back of their mind that some other guy is waving a machine gun at his grandmother.
The war on drugs is basically a war on freedom and a devices to employ government workers. Follow the money, right from the paychecks of non government workers right into the pockets of the government workers
"Calling a late night search for contraband a safety inspection is uncalled for. Call it what it is."
And your source is?
Not the media report I hope.
I agree. This is not the whole story. Prisons are full of innocent people. Just ask them.
Hello....boats are not houses. Big difference there.
That's a very interesting article, I think you ought to post it.
These days it's not unusual for a Ranger, if he finds you in the Park, to act like you're a peasant caught trespessing in the King's forest. Last I looked, the Parks were created for the people to enjoy, but I suppose that is an outdated viewpoint.
30 years ago I used to enjoy chatting with the rangers at the ramp at Flamingo, especially Vivie Thue, who was usually there in those days. Things have changed, though.
Oohhh Raaahhh, Tonk.
Pull you head out of the sand, man. M-16s have no holster. You must have never served in the military, or you would have known that.
How do you know that? Posters here seem to be pretty quick to presume the intentions of the CG, why not the boaters? Of course, the boaters would never lie, would they?
Hmmm the statements, logic, and integrity of the founding fathers on the one hand or the statements of Ramius "pfille" on the other.
Golly who will I believe to be credible ?
Quite a conundrum I have...........
I am a libertarian AND I support strong border protection. Not all libertarians are fruitcakes. There is also a HUGE difference between liberals and libertarians. Most libertarians would agree that national defense is necessary, as well as individual protection- both are ensure by the CG. I certainly would be upset if police raided my home in the middle of the night. However, if police have found 150,000 pounds of cocaine, or 10,000 smuggled people, in houses like mine, I'd inderstand the reasoning.
I wonder if the people in this thread, who are against the CG searches support the silly law that makes us all remove refrigerator doors before throwing them away.
I'm one of those people who has a problem with "any kind of authority."
OTOH, I like the USCG. They do a good job.
"Well, that lib caller was whining about how the M-16's upset her and made her feel scared."
I lived in Turkey for a couple of years with my wife, one tour. She found it comforting that the cops (Jandarma) carried MP-5 submachineguns. Even after one of our Turkish friends was wounded by those same cops chasing a terrorist in Istambul. He was hit by frag from a grenade the cops threw to disperse the crowd so they could get the terrorist.
The Coasties have to worry about people using boats as bombs, now, a la the USS Cole's attackers. I'd much rather see them armed.
I'm reading my way through this thread, to your post 332 now. One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that the guy who got boarded wants the ACLU involved. That ought to be a big red flag right there telling everone where he's coming from: way over on the left.
Speaking as someone who considers himself pretty much of a libertarian, I would like to point out that the type of freedom that libertarians so prize cannot exist without border protection.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
This is pollyannic crap.
I am not a sheep, I am a free, self-sovereign individual. Remembering that, "Governments are instituted among men to secure [our] rights", I insist that Government is here to serve me and protect my rights and property from thugs, be they self serving politicians, LEO, crack-heads, Al-Queda or whatever. I am not in need of being 'shepherded' and do not desire it, and will not submit to it. I am not here to serve Government.
When someone uses force or the threat of force to take my money or property IT IS THEFT. It doesn't matter that they think in their head that they are a 'sheep dog' and I am a 'sheep'. They are THUGS.
I don't agree with the "follow the money" trail. If the drug laws were put to public referendum, we'd get the real answer on that question. Right now, our representatives have decided that certain drugs are illegal and Law Enforcement is paid to enforce ALL laws.
These CGs aren't trained to wave guns in citizens' faces. What would lead you to believe that? What would make you think that people, who sign their lives away for eight years to serve the country, are inclined to intimidate people? Please, don't be so quick to presume that people in uniform are radicals with guns with nothing better to do.
You are right that individuals are responsible for their actions. They also should be held accountable for criminal actions- check out the UCMJ, where you can see how we are governed. There is very little room for delinquents. How would you feel if a criminal were to wave a gun at your family? Would you want a policeman to come to their rescue? Or, would you want them to know that everyone is second-guessing their motives? Police will eventually hesitate to save someone's life because of this negative mentality.
You also seemed to have turned this into a "war on drugs" issue. It isn't. It is about the right of CG to search boats. They find all sorts of things during these searches- not just drugs. Are you against them finding smuggled children for the sex trade? Or, is your argument limited to searching for drugs?
Well, I read the entire thread.
Some threads really make me despair for Freepers. This is one of those threads. I guess it's OK to have an opinion derived from ignorance, but I think it a good idea to at least be aware of that derivation.
The USCG does a great job and my experience with them has been that they are good guys.
You mean like the CG did for a "safety inspection" wink wink;-)
I bet the Krauts don't enter houses with m-16s looking fot TVs either.
Screw the Coast Guard, National Guard, NOPD etc. They proved what they were all about when they got an Unconstitutional Order to seize citizens guns and followed it. Unlawful orders are not to be carried out. They are jackboots - they will do whatever they are told.
Perhaps you should look for another forum for future discussions.
You will fit in well here now that the site has been taken over by neocons and the talibornagains. This site used to be dedicated to the Constitution - you wouldn't have been able to understand what people were talking about then.
They TOOK the persons yatch over 4 seeds. They took many yatchs over a joint. They aggresively pursued it. The people involved were jackboots - thugs. I don't care if they had nice uniforms. They are no different than the corrupt Lousiana cops who were seizing people's cars under similar conditions except I would expect the CG to have much more educated leadership. Thugs - disgraces to the legacy our forefathers left us. Scum plain and simple.
Take it easy man. Just because you are parinoid doesnt mean that we arent actually out to get you.
Things sure have changed in ENP - and for the worse. Last time I launched at Flamingo, the ramp had a half inch deep layer of algae. That algal layer was more slippery than greased Teflon.
And, according to the Miami Herald, when the last Stupidvisor, er - make that Superintendent, of ENP was arrested for being knee-walking drunk while driving, the Herald stated she was in charge of 232 employees.
All of whom were evidently in line awaiting their turn to play tennis at the new tennis courts built with money diverted from the Schiinus erradication program in the old Hole In The Donut area of ENP.
I get pretty wound tight on these issues because people do not realize what it means. Of course as my father pointed out to me 30 years ago, few people know what the difference between America and other countries is. He was right. I couldn't grasp it when he was telling me. He was a Naval Aviator and I don't think he would have followed an order to seize fellow Americans guns. He would and did follow orders that put him in deadly situations during Korea and some of his friends paid the ultimate price to protect what America was about.
What's going on in the Hole in the Donut these days? I remember driving in to it by mistake once many years ago.
Some of the guys I know are catching good amounts of snook in the Park, inside and outside. I'm not much of a back country fisherman, though I used to haunt that area.
I have a mind to explore the fishing in Florida Bay to the east of Flamingo, up from Tavernier or maybe accross from Crocodile Dragover. Black Betsy Keys are pretty, but I have no idea if there is fishing there.
Is there really a place on this forum for comments like this? If so, I don't think there is a place here for military families.
When they take part in shredding the Constitution, it sure is. I love and respect the men who go overseas to support and protect the USA.
The ones here who are seizing private citizen's property without due process, breaking into people's homes, dragging them out and seizing their guns - they are America's enemies and traitors to the oaths they took.
So as long as my son's boat is overseas, you support him. Once he enters U.S. territory you consider him a traitor? Crawl back under your rock.
If he breaks into a private citizens house and seizes their guns he is a traitor to the oath he took. I took it too.
You're wiggling around real good, but you haven't wiggled out of your verbal attack against our troops. Try again.
It appears to me that you are painting with a very broad brush here. Admittedly I am not up to speed on all these reports. The only ones I heard confirmed were NOLA local PD(?)
Let me repeat - The soldiers and leos who took part in dragging people out of their homes and seizing their guns and the coasties who took part in seizing people's yatchs over 4 seeds are traitors to America. They are scum. Is that straight up enough for you?
There are two clips of the OKNG seizing weapons including one where the soldier displays disbelief that this is happening in America and saying he would hate to have to shoot an America but would.
And believe me I am not painting all the military. Honore prohibited the men he commanded from taking part as far as I know.
You made your position very clear. You're either with us, or against us. Don't screw our military. Screw anyone who's against us. You know who you are.
That's good to hear.
I enjoyed his comments today.
"Stuck on Stupid"..lol
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