Border Official Threatens Boy Scout with 10 Years in Prison and $10K Fine for Taking a Picture

Central Iowa Boy Scout Troop No. 111 received a little more when they bargained for during their three-week road trip.

While trying to cross one of their four vans into Alaska from Canada, about ten days into their trip, they came across a border patrol, as you usually do. Things were going normal until one of the scouts snapped up a photograph of the agent, presumably just to document their adventures and events during the journey.


It was that snapshot which incited agents to detain the entire van and warrant a search of all of the scouts and their belongings. The border patrol agent who was photographed immediately confiscated the camera threatened the child who snapped the photograph, stating he could be fined upwards of $10k and face up to 10 years in prison.

It doesn’t end there though. As one of the scouts was removing a bag atop the van for agents to search, Scout Leader Jim Fox claims an agent unholstered his loaded weapon and aimed it at the head of said scout. Fox recalled the events to KCCI, stating,

[The scout heard] a snap of a holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head.


Rightly so, this put everyone in a bit of panic, not knowing why a loaded weapon was just pulled on a fellow scout. Ultimately though, no one was hurt and after the four-hour long predicament they were free to go.

According to updated reports, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the picture was indeed taken at a port of entry; where photographs are strictly prohibited. However, that doesn’t justify all of the events which subsequently transpired.

(via KCCI)

  • BB

    That guard needs to be fired and put in prison for his actions.

  • Bryan Haywood

    you’re right… I didn’t know about the 100 mile wide constitution free zone that borders the entire united states. It’s quite scary how much power the government has in these areas.

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  • TS Eggleston

    Why can’t we put these gestapo-like hard-asses on the SOUTHERN border?

  • Guest

    Big difference. No one has been killed by a loaded Nikon or Canon from an “Ice Hole”.

  • maxrobes2000

    I believe it was a car accident that killed Princess Di, not a camera.

  • Ansilatoms

    You’re making quite a leap, there. I say nothing about living under the rule of law. I’m a big fan, actually. In general, I think people are essentially selfish, and therefore likely to act in their own self interest unless held to some more community related standard. So yeah, we need laws, and we need a mechanism for carrying out those laws. My gripe is with ONE arm of that structure, and I acknowledge I stated it in very general terms (for succinctness), and I also acknowledge that it is more applicable to larger metropolitan areas, and the very remote smaller areas, but it is true now, more than ever. This may be partly because owing to the demands and risks of the job, only certain types will even seek employment. Who becomes a cop? My experience has been that it is either someone who’s family has been in policework (The more likely ones to be truly good cops), the true altruists (More likely to either get promoted into PR, or be forced out by peer pressure), those who wound up being MPs in the military, those who have been lifelong bullies, those who have felt powerless in life, those with an axe to grind, or just power hungry individuals who think they can get over somehow. To be sure, the intent of testing and training is to weed some of those folks out. It doesn’t work. Regardless of any of that, there is a brotherhood, and male or female, any cop is a member, and they will be defended and protected by their peers. While I acknowledge the risks and pressures of the job, I do not feel that the reaction, and policies to protect those guardians of society should be to place their safety ABOVE that of any civilian. It should NOT be to give them a license to beat, abuse, main, and kill anyone they encounter. When they are “in action”, they are adrenaline fueled, and should be even more stringently controlled for that reason. I have seen them slam a person down to the ground because that person was not lowering themselves fast enough for the officer. That they were getting on the ground as fast anyone COULD without injuring themselves didn’t enter into it. As far as that testosterone and adrenaline poisoned thug was concerned, it wasn’t fast enough. I’m sorry, but I don’t care if they are acting as agents of law, wear a badge, uniform, State seal, freaking medal of honor…if they act like that, they are thugs…and the policies in place which allow it means that they are all trained to be thugs.

    You call it being naively personified? My grandfather was a cop. Many of my family acquaintances are cops. My first guitar student was a cop. But now…I avoid cops in general, unless I’ve known them a while. Yeah…I know good ones…but I’ve known cops I never want to encounter on the street. You bet it’s personified…but it’s based on what I see ALL around.

  • J. S. Hansenius

    I think my leap was apt…I only have your own words to hold you to, “I wish people would just accept, and wrap their heads around this fact. Border agents, cops, armed government personnel of all branches…are thugs”…..which why my response was correct. You make an absolute statement and then try and defend that statement with familial history. I don’t know your history. I only know your words on this subject. I think my comment was fair. I do not defend this agent’s actions. I only sought to refute that all agents of the state, who have authority roles are not thugs. That is what you said. That is to me hyperbole.

  • Ansilatoms

    I disagree. The leap I spoke of was assuming I had something against rule of law…so it was not at all apt. Had your initial comment been that I was engaging in hyperbole, I would grant that I may exaggerate (Which I believe I already admitted, saying it was for the sake of being succinct). I disagree further that I was defending my premise with familial experiences. I used those specifically to admit that I had “personified” my attitude (Though I’m not quite sure of your use of that term, nor your judgement that it is naive). By all means disagree with me, but please keep the arguments, and defenses together, rather than reframing them in some sort of scramble of your own creation. My contention stands, whether it be a fact in your view, or not. It is far safer to assume, at least, that any cop you encounter is a…oh, let’s try to not trigger your buttons…a highly agitated, and extremely aggressive to the point of having no real concern for your own humanity, innocence, frailty, or passiveness, who is likely to beat your ass into a bloody pulp for no particular reason other than them being a cop. Okay?

  • bob cooley

    Agreed. That was the point of my statement.

  • bob cooley

    It’s not a constitution free zone. Let’s not hyperbolize. There are certain exemptions under certain conditions on the 4th and 5th Amendment rights. The border guards was way out of line in his enforcement, and likely in violation of the rules governing the exemption if it was taken to court.

  • bob cooley

    Precipitated by paparazzi chasing her car.

  • J. S. Hansenius

    “Border agents, cops, armed government personnel of all branches…are thugs”…..sound like you respect the rule of law….yeah sure.

    “but please keep the arguments, and defenses together, rather than reframing them in some sort of scramble of your own creation”…I’m not re-framing anything I directly quoting you.

    “It is far safer to assume, at least, that any cop you encounter is a…oh, let’s try to not trigger your buttons…a highly agitated, and extremely aggressive”…again a pure absolute statement that is only backed up by anecdotal observation. IOW, pure conjecture based chiefly on emotions and not fact.

    You sound like a guy who can’t admit he is wrong. You are running from your own words and using personal observations to back up absolute statements. So go ahead and respond, I’m done chasing you in circles.

  • Guest

    The current administration, the war on drugs was started by a GOP Nixon in the 70s and expanded under Reagan in the 80s…its the chief reason why the US has such a large prison population. Gott im himmel this site’s comment section is full of idiots.

  • J. S. Hansenius

    The current Administration??? Are you some GOP hack or are you just ignorant that the war on drugs is chiefly responsible for the large prison population and that “war” was started by the GOPer Nixon in the 1970s and expand by super-Republican Reagan in the 80s? Gott im Himmel this site’s comment section is full of idiots.

  • Jim Dicecco

    It’s not clear here if the boarder agent was US or Canadian. I suspect US since you cn’at have a gun in Canada.
    If US, then confiscating the camera is a violation of the first amendment and a US felony. (I’m not familiar with the Canadian laws.)
    If they are US agents and they want the boy scouts to learn to be good citizens then they should file suit and have the agent charged with a felony. That would eliminate the problem with the gun as well as felons can’t have guns. The boy scouts would learn to stand firm for their rights.

  • Ansilatoms

    Sure…whatever you want to see…I’m “one of those people who can’t admit they’re wrong”. Of course, I’ve also never been one of those who believes that ANYone’s mind is changed by argument. All I do is express an opinion. If the opinion is attacked, I try to both elaborate, and defend it. That’s all. You disagree? Fine. I have no illusions about changing your mind. I only want to be sure that you truly understand what I’m saying, are truly arguing an opposing view, and aren’t putting words or concepts into my mouth. I’ve obviously failed in both of the latter. It’s a bit tough to argue when you lump things together which do not necessarily GO together. Unless you buy into that old pretention of the movie Southern Cop (You know…the old, “You can call me The LAW” thing), then the rule of law only relates to cops in that they are supposed to be the more active of the enforcement branch. If that branch is bad, it doesn’t mean the laws are bad…anymore than a bad judge does, or a bad prosecutor. The laws stand on their own. If the whole infrastructure of law creation, and enforcement is shot, well yeah…then maybe the law is toast. But then, I wasn’t talking or expressing an opinion on that. At any rate, if you don’t want to engage in argument, then don’t attack opinions. It’s kinda how it works.

  • chris webb

    the police in my town have been thugs since I was a child,and I don’t see it changeing

  • chris webb

    your a cop,.just admit it .

  • Bob Justice

    There is no law forbidding the taking of pictures of law enforcement performing their duties in public nor photographing public buildings.(except for military defense installations). See 18 USC 795.

    Most law enforcement ARE thugs. You are talking out of your butt. The cops are not judge jury and executioner and are not supposed to mete out punishment. Just admit it… you’re most likely a cop!

  • Bob Justice

    Agreed! This stuff started with the rethuglicans!

  • Bob Justice

    “They may ban photographing or recording checkpoints, enforcement zones & searches, even temporary ones set up on the side of a public road, or on the interstates like I-8 & I-10 (nowhere near border crossings), and privileged press communications seized by customs & border patrol are not protected by 1st amendment.”

    Caselaw citations please?

  • Bob Justice

    It is not illegal to take photos at border checkpoints. The agents manning those places are public officials carrying out their duties in public, with no reasonable expectation of privacy!

  • Melinda