FDA Mussel->Vehicle->Fruit->Moth->BULLSH*T Inspection - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 06-30-2015   #1
 
Meadow Vista, California
Paddling Since: 1997
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FDA Mussel->Vehicle->Fruit->Moth->BULLSH*T Inspection

RE: I-80 FDA Inspection near Truckee

Bottom line is I should have been better prepared and not volunteered any information about the contents of my enclosed trailer. When asked what am I carrying. I should have said, "Personal stuff."

The inspector asked me what I was carrying and I replied, "Rafting gear." He then said, "Open it up we need to inspect for invasive mussels." I protested and was ordered to pull over; he fetched the supervisor. According to their pamphlet, I was no where near their any of the areas of concern. She pressed, and changed to, "We need to inspect the vehicle." That got me going and they ran through the laws about their authority and my options to turn back or leave the trailer. I relented and opened up the trailer and she says, "You have coolers; do you have any fruit?" She then went through the camping coolers. She confiscated the mangos (hold on to this); she didn't ask about the 120 qt Yeti the coolers where on top of. I asked how the mussel inspection turns into a fruit inspection. She goes back to "her authority" again to search vehicles. Next, she crawls around on the ground looking for a moth. When she gets up, I reiterate the change in type of inspections. She turns her head away. She asks where I bought the mangos. I said CA. She asked if I wanted them back. I was too mad and just left.

FWIW, I don't mind helping, but only to the extent I choose. I feel the evasive mussel is just another trigger to search your personal belongings and look for contraband. My evidence is the change in type of inspections and the incomprehensive inspection of my trailer.

Guilty until proven innocent.

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Old 07-01-2015   #2
 
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lafayette or Grand Lake, CO., Colorado
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I was inspected in 2010 after getting off the Grand at the dam crossing into Vegas. Since I was towing a trailer full of rafting gear, dirty and stunk like I had not showered for days, I of course was singled out for a search. The rookie agent was trying to impress his boss on how good a job he could do. They were not looking for mussels but explosives. When the young man spotted 4 military rocket boxes his eyes got big. I was asked what was in them and I replied just shit. He now got more excited ask what kind of shit. I said it is just my personal shit. I suggested he look if he did not believe me. As he went to open a rocket box I suggested to his supervisor we both stand up wind and we did. The supervisor later thanked me for being a good sport about the search and said the box of shit made his day. Not all inspections turn out bad.
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Old 07-03-2015   #3
 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1999
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OK so I have some questions since I'm one of "those people" who is seriously concerned with the over-reach that the Government is using with EVERY one of it's departments. These are honest inquiries, I really don't know the answer and I don't want to be presumptuous.

1. I have never heard of the FDA doing road block checks before. Is that normal?

2. Are there any laws against taking fruit across state lines that could justify them searching let alone confiscating them?

3. Why would the FDA be searching for any moths?

If there are any actual over-reaches with these searches, who would we contact about it and what can we do about it?
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Old 07-04-2015   #4
 
Meadow Vista, California
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Food & Agriculture Department NOT FDA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapid View Post
OK so I have some questions since I'm one of "those people" who is seriously concerned with the over-reach that the Government is using with EVERY one of it's departments. These are honest inquiries, I really don't know the answer and I don't want to be presumptuous.

1. I have never heard of the FDA doing road block checks before. Is that normal?
Messed up my government acronyms. It is the Food & Agriculture Department. And they have inspection facilities around the state border that are supposed to screen for cars and trucks for evasive species entering the state that can cause harm to the agriculture industry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rapid View Post
2. Are there any laws against taking fruit across state lines that could justify them searching let alone confiscating them?
No laws, but the are regulations in the Food and Agriculture code which state it if having a shipment of agriculture "shall cause your vehicle and shipment to be inspected."

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapid View Post
3. Why would the FDA be searching for any moths?
One of many evasive species the state says they are inspecting for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapid View Post
If there are any actual over-reaches with these searches, who would we contact about it and what can we do about it?
I am sure, and there are news articles that back this up, it the inspectors saw something in my trailer they found suspicious, beyond looking for evasive species , they would have confiscated it also. Easiest one I can think of would be if I had a large sum of cash in one of the coolers.

If they were inspecting for evasive species, the inspections would be completely different. There would be more random screenings. I was the only one there and every other camper, coach, boat, and trailer were passing right through. If I would have opened up my trailer while sitting in traffic, there is no way the inspector would have been able to inspect my rafts for mussels, they were buried in the front. I am convinced he didn't like my defiance, a product of his approach.

Which means, these guys are at the receiving end of methods and procedures to do their jobs. Change would have to come for supervisors and directors about how the inspectors approach individuals. It would require everybody not complying with the inspectors to get them the change their procedures so they can do their jobs.

For instance:
"What you got in the trailer"
"Rafting gear"
"We are having a problem with evasive mussels entering CA. What body of water were you in?"
"San Juan River" (according to their pamphlet, this is not a trouble spot)
"Did you make it into Lake Powell"
"No. Pulled out at Clay Hills"
"Thank you very much, see you later"

Here is how it normally goes:
"Where are you coming from?"
"Nevada"
"Got any fruits or vegetables?"
"No"
"Have a nice day."

That is why these inspections are considered a joke. I told the guy no and he said watch me.
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Old 07-04-2015   #5
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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Posts: 491
I was inspected twice for invasive species while returning to Colorado from a trip in Montana. But my experience was very different.

1. I was polite and made every effort to cooperate.
2. I did my home work and did some online research before crossing three three state lines,
so I knew what they were looking for and how to answer questions.
3. I answered, Yes sir,there is a raft in my trailer but I made sure she was 'cleaned, drained and dry' before I left the take out. He was satisfied.
4. My inspections each took less than 30 seconds.

Pulling attitude with someone in authority is a guaranteed way to get extra scrutiny.
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Old 07-04-2015   #6
 
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Evasive bastard
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Old 07-04-2015   #7
 
Meadow Vista, California
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 18
The variable is the inspector and the constant are you rights. I am not aware of any legal authority to search ones belongings without probable cause.

What keeps me gritting my teeth is the sloppy manner in which the inspection was conducted. All of these problems and they just want the trailer opened to look inside.

I feel these ag inspections are solely a, so called, line of defense for the state dressed under the guise of preventing the spread of evasive species. Because if stopping the spread is what they are trying to do, the entire operation would be conducted differently.


Clayton
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Old 07-06-2015   #8
in dry dock
 
Glenwoody, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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I sure wish CA would have kept their tammarisk trees out of the rest of the CO river basin, the irony is them inspecting us when it is CA the rest of us should be wary of
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Old 07-06-2015   #9
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
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Posts: 1,235
Now that is funny *ahem* shit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I was inspected in 2010 after getting off the Grand at the dam crossing into Vegas. Since I was towing a trailer full of rafting gear, dirty and stunk like I had not showered for days, I of course was singled out for a search. The rookie agent was trying to impress his boss on how good a job he could do. They were not looking for mussels but explosives. When the young man spotted 4 military rocket boxes his eyes got big. I was asked what was in them and I replied just shit. He now got more excited ask what kind of shit. I said it is just my personal shit. I suggested he look if he did not believe me. As he went to open a rocket box I suggested to his supervisor we both stand up wind and we did. The supervisor later thanked me for being a good sport about the search and said the box of shit made his day. Not all inspections turn out bad.
To the OP: "I do not consent to a search." That's your magic phrase. It's not aggressive or confrontational. You simply state your intent and ever time they "show" authorization, you just repeat the phase.

I have no problem complying with giving up fruit no matter how silly it may be. They need but ask. I do have a problem with gaining consent to search on a false pretense (and they can legally lie to you). Once you give consent they can search for anything. If they will not relent, simply ask "Am I being detained?" If they say yes, invoke your right to silence and state you're going to call a lawyer (and then actually call a lawyer).

People with CO tags are reporting higher rates of search requests as they drive through our neighboring states. Pot is usually the underlying reason.
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Old 07-06-2015   #10
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
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It is a double edged sword. On one hand, the searches are fairly ineffective, random, uninformed, and more importantly, infringing upon our rights.

On the other hand, invasive species are a real threat (no matter the kind), and we really should do our best to protect our rivers, fruit, forests, et al, from the spread of invasive species.
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