Earlier this month, a Boy Scout troop had an unforgettable experience while traveling across the Alaska-Canada border that has at least one U.S. Senator up in arms.
The incident didn’t involve wildlife or forest fires, but instead occurred as a result of a run in with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who appeared to go all Gestapo on them as they were passing through, local media reports.
The boys of Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 were in their vans moving through a checkpoint when one of the youngsters snapped a pic of an agent. Suddenly, the entire group was ordered to pull over and the agents closed in on the youngster.
“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and ten years in prison,” Jim Fox, the leader of the troop, told Des Moines television station KCCI.
As the agents began searching the vans, one of the scouts attempted to grab his bag from the roof carrier, which prompted an agent to draw his weapon and point it at the teen.
“He heard a snap of the holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” said Fox.
The agents then threatened the troop saying that the next scout to leave the van would be “handcuffed and detained.” After four hours at the border, in which the scouts were asked why they were carrying “excessive amounts of lighters, matches and knives,” they were allowed to cross.
No charges were filed.
“The boys were unnecessarily frightened and intimidated,” Fox wrote about the incident on his Facebook page. “When do we Americans decide enough is enough? The TSA and border guards are a valuable asset to the safety of this country, but to have such Gestapo tactics against a teenage scout is uncalled for.”
Upon hearing of the incident, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said, “It’s outrageous that a border patrol agent would point a gun at a boy scout just for taking a picture. It just doesn’t make sense.”