We’re back in TEXAS!!!! Party time!!!
We never made it to Marfa. We did manage to finally get arrested. For those of you in the betting pool that wagered on our arrest on Day 35, you are the lucky winner!
Well, today was the day we finally get arrested. Before we get to any of that, I have a cautionary tale for you. The next time you’re driving down the interstate and see a cop hauling ass after someone to pull them over, so you pull out your camera and record it, singing, “Whoomp! There it is!” while the guy gets lit up, be sure and keep in mind that you may be next.
Basically, we drove up to a Border Patrol checkpoint. They had a dog sniffing every fucking car that passed through.
As we waited in line at the checkpoint, we stuffed the weed, the hash and the pipe in a ziplock bag inside another ziplock bag inside a jar inside a plastic container and jammed the fucker in the armrest compartment and hoped for the best. Right as the car in front of us pulled up, the drug-dog had to take a shit. Luck was blessing us. We waited for them to release the car and hurry us through. But that was a stupid plan. They held that car until the shitter finished up and proceeded to sniff not only that car, but us and every other fucking car that rolled through there.
I guess the dog winked at of gave some other secret, unidentifiable sign to his handler cuz the human component of the gang got excited and sent us across two lanes and over to the secondary inspection site. The agent pointed out where I was to pull up and I intentionally overshot the spot to buy us some time. “What the fuck do we do?” “I don’t think they can put the dogs on us. They can sniff the car, but not us. One of us needs to pocket the weed.” “I don’t wanna.” “I’ll do it.” I hastily pulled the jar from the large plastic container and stuffed the jar in my pocket. It wasn’t a big fucking jar, but it was none too small and made an oilcan size bulge in my shorts. I did my best to assume a crooked posture that hid the lump.
So we’re standing there, about six agents surround us as the dog and another agent tear the car apart. I’m feeling particularly cocky and smug as I know I have all the weed in my pocket. That dog can hump every inch of that car and our belongings, and I couldn’t give two shits (I mean, other than the fact that my Fourth Amendment rights were being gang-raped). The plan was working! Fuck yes! Hell, I was even small-talking the hell out of the lead agent. I was prying from him cool stories of action that went down at the checkpoint. On the inside, I was grinning like a possum eating shit. I had a jar full of misdemeanors and felonies in my pocket and there wasn’t shit he could do about it.
Then, from the cop raping the car, I heard “We got marijuana.”
“No!” I thought. I almost said it. “There’s no weed in the car. It’s in my fucking pocket! This can’t be!” I didn’t say that. Not out loud. I looked over to see the dog dry-humping Chad’s luggage, his shit strewn about. I looked back and the agents had moved in and I was cuffed like greased lightning. Fuck.
They had found Chad’s freezer bag of shwag. I guess he’d forgotten about it. Before we were arrested, as we were waiting in line to be sniffed, we did have an actual conversation and decided to consolidate all the weed. All the weed. We put the k.b., hash and pipe together. That was ALL the weed we had. Or so I thought. I thought wrong. Chad’s forgotten shwag brought us down, adding insult to shitty injury.
Once we were busted and cuffed, they found the jar of the good stuff in my pocket. The gig was up. My plan that was working so well went to shit in two shakes. I was cocksure like a motherfucker only two seconds ago. And now I’m eyeballing the possibility of a felony for the hash. The fucking shwag is gonna get me busted for hash. That is fucked up. Did you know that possessing any amount of hash is a felony? I learned that from Total Badass. Even the smallest speck of hash is a felony. Fucked up, huh?
I know you’re expecting the story of our arrest to be real knuckle-whitening finale to our tour journal, but it was really all a bit mundane. For one thing, I think Bob and I somehow both had the feeling all along that we weren’t going to get into that much trouble over the detainment, even after we had been handcuffed, searched, and put in a cell for about seven hours. I don’t know how to explain it, but there was an air of spring-breakishness to the whole affair. Sure, we’d been caught with marijuana and hashish at a federal checkpoint about an hour or so east of El Paso on I-10, but the hashish was so covered in marijuana, that it looked like marijuana, itself. This was working for us all along. Plus, from the minute we got arrested, there was just a parade of other detainees being led in after us, almost all of them two white dudes traveling together, obviously busted for their personal weed and obviously all about ten to fifteen years younger than me and Bob’s burntout asses. You see, the big drug runners, they don’t drive through the federal checkpoint about an hour or so east of El Paso on I-10, because the police stop every fucking car that comes through and run a dog across it.
Anyway, we probably would have gotten rid of all our weed, had we known about this dog on every car policy that the feds are running these days. It’s a lot like the chicken in every pot promise that the federal government made back in the Hoover administration, except instead of everybody getting something to eat and a feeling of financial stability passed down from the ruling class, everybody gets pulled over and sniffed down by a drug dog. I feel like this policy is very unfair to the average citizen, especially the ones carrying drugs, but who am I to complain? I’m not even allowed to vote… I’m just saying, after over two decades as a professional criminal, I’m all too familiar with the unspoken agreement between law enforcement and the average citizen that with a little bit of luck, you can get away with almost any crime because they’re not trying to catch EVERYBODY, just some people. What the fuck ever happened to that? How do you pull over every fucking person, and search them with a dog? How is anybody expected to get away with anything under these circumstances? It is an assault on The American Dream.
I’ll go ahead and step off the soapbox long enough to tell you what happened. We knew we were in line to go through the checkpoint for about 20 minutes, because it takes a long time to run a dog over every fucking car on the highway. We never did a goddamn thing to protect ourselves the whole time we were inching our way up to the inspection station. When we were about three cars from the front, Bob notices that hey, there’s a dog up there, and it’s sniffing every fucking car to go by. Well, we decide maybe it’s a good idea to at least get all the drugs together in one place, so they’re not just all over the car. I guess we thought the border patrol was going to give us credit for tidiness. Still, the idea of actually getting rid of the weed and hash never comes up… it was really, really good weed and hash and we weren’t about to let a couple of draconian drug laws deprive us of it. If they wanted our weed and hash, they were going to have to take it from us themselves, and that’s exactly what they did about seven minutes later, after arresting us for having it. Ok, so we’re seriously like two cars back in line, and Bob hatches his plan where if we have all the weed on our person, then they’ll take us out of the car, sniff the car down, and tell us sorry, false alarm and you can leave now. I’m still interested to see if this would have worked, but don’t worry, I fucked it all up, anyway. See, when we left Austin on the trip to begin with, I had brought like almost an ounce of shitty mexican weed for us to smoke because we had no idea how things would turn out on the drug front as the trip went along. Well, they turned out like this: People showered us in drugs in practically every city we went to, and the shitty mexican weed was soon completely forgotten… In my green suitcase, in the car, with the dog. While we were standing out on the tarmac with a couple officers, I realized all of this and took a nervous look over towards the car, where I knew my suitcase was sitting right on top of everything else in the backseat. I look over, and I swear the dog was just fucking the suitcase. Seriously, it had both front legs wrapped around it and its back all humped, and was just fucking it with its tongue out. The cops took the dog and the suitcase out of the car and were all like, good boy and shit, like they were proud of the dog for getting some pussy. Well, we were under arrest from that minute on, and when they searched us, they found the motherload that Bob had selflessly hidden in his pocket. It was all hispanics handling us at first, but when they got us back in the cells, they sent the white guy in as a liaison. He explained that we’d basically be sitting there until the local sheriff came along and gave us a ticket, and then we’d be on our way. Bob and I were in separate cells, and the guy did his best to suggest to us that only one of us should take credit for the weed so only one of us would get a ticket, but this all got lost in translation and we both ended up claiming it. After a couple of hours, they actually moved Bob and me in together. That was basically the most exciting thing to happen to us during our stay. That, and I had a couple pills in my pocket that I had to ferret out and eat while we were handcuffed to a bench in the processing station. It was a xanex and klonopin cocktail that normally wouldn’t have interested me, but seemed like a good idea at the time with an impending search and seizure. The only other thing worth mentioning was that after we had been released, and were about ten miles down the road, I realized that my green suitcase was gone. They had never given it back to us. I didn’t care; it had been fucked by a dog, anyway.
At first, I had my own cell. Gray wall. Bench. Steel toilet. Cold. So I did some push-ups. That’s what you do in jail, right? Then I saw a fly. I almost killed him. But then I realized that he was my only friend. I took a shit so my new best friend would have something to sniff.
A few minutes later, they brought Chad into my cell. They needed his for some gals they just busted. Over the course of the next several hours, they brought in two more pairs of white dudes. College-age looking kids who weren’t smart enough to ditch their weed either.
After about seven and a half hours of this kind of fun, they finally plucked us from the cell. We waited to see the outcome. What next? What were the charges? How much money and time would I be dumping into this West Texas county over the next several months of court appearances, probation and jail time? This whole turn of events had me realizing that the tour was about to go from being in the black to being in the red. The meager profits were about to evaporate and I’d be staring at a shitpile of financial and legal hassles. Several months of work and five weeks of gigs on the road and all the little bits of chump-change we managed to squeeze out of this tour was about to be redirected to the Hudspeth County coffers. I worked my ass off for that cash, I hope Hudspeth County spends it wisely.
The hermaphrodite-looking sheriff presented his/her citation pad and asked for a John Hancock. In the end, they didn’t slap a possession charge or a hash charge on either of us. They had us sign for a $537 “possession of paraphernalia” ticket. Gay. And, fucking Ouch! Aside from the financial fucking, I guess they figure I should be grateful for the slap on the wrist (it coulda been a felony, remember?), but fuck that. The whole situation was shit. It’s fucking wrong that they search every single fucking car without any probable fucking cause. And we never even left the country. We’re over an hour east of El Paso in Texas. That whole fucking thing is just plain wrong.
Inside the tin that used to hold my pipe and a small bag of the weed is stuffed this dollar bill:
I always hoped that it would help me weasel out of a bust. I’ve talked my way out of a shitload of busts in the past. And I never had George fucking Washington on my side. I’ve had that bill in that tin for years and I always figured that I could play the patriotism / “our founding fathers grew weed” card if I ever got busted with it. I never even had the chance to talk on this one. No silver tongue a wagglin.’ In the moment, I had completely forgotten about the “I grew hemp” bill. So it didn’t help a bit. But at least they gave me my dollar back.
But on a more practical note, can someone explain it to me how it is legal for the cops to search every single fucking car that passes through? Do we not have a Constitutional right to not be searched without probable cause? Or am I mistaken?
I mean, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” WTF?
Apparently someone can explain that to me. They are called the ACLU. I guess they are quasi-famous or something. Did you know this shit? From the ACLU’s site (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone):
“Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This “Constitution-Free Zone” includes most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
We urge you to call on Congress to hold hearings on and pass legislation to end these egregious violations of Americans’ civil rights.”
Also from the ACLU (http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/fact-sheet-us-constitution-free-zone):
Fact Sheet on U.S. “Constitution Free Zone”
· Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
· The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
· But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />United States.
· As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
· Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
· However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
· The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.
Much of U.S. population affected
· Many Americans and Washington policymakers believe that this is a problem confined to the San Diego-Tijuana border or the dusty sands of Arizona or Texas, but these powers stretch far inland across the United States.
· To calculate what proportion of the U.S. population is affected by these powers, the ACLU created a map and spreadsheet showing the population and population centers that lie within 100 miles of any “external boundary” of the United States.
· The population estimates were calculated by examining the most recent US census numbers for all counties within 100 miles of these borders. Using numbers from the Population Distribution Branch of the US Census Bureau, we were able to estimate both the total number and a state-by-state population breakdown. The custom map was created with help from a map expert at World Sites Atlas.
· What we found is that fully TWO-THIRDS of the United States’ population lives within this Constitution-free or Constitution-lite Zone. That’s 197.4 million people who live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
· Nine of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas as determined by the 2000 census, fall within the Constitution-free Zone. (The only exception is #9, Dallas-Fort Worth.) Some states are considered to lie completely within the zone: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Part of a broader problem
· The spread of border-search powers inland is part of a broad expansion of border powers with the potential to affect the lives of ordinary Americans who have never left their own country.
· It coincides with the development of numerous border technologies, including watch list and database systems such as the Automated Targeting System (ATS) traveler risk assessment program, identity and tracking systems such as electronic (RFID) passports, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), and intrusive technological schemes such as the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBINet) or “virtual border fence” and unmanned aerial vehicles (aka “drone aircraft”).
· This illegitimate expansion of the extraordinary powers of agents at the border is also part of a general trend we have seen over the past 8 years of an untrammeled, heedless expansion of police and national security powers without regard to the effect on innocent Americans.
· This trend is also typical of the Bush Administration’s dragnet approach to law enforcement and national security. Instead of intelligent, competent, targeted efforts to stop terrorism, illegal immigration, and other crimes, what we have been seeing in area after area is an approach that turns us all into suspects. This approach seeks to sift through the entire U.S. population in the hopes of encountering the rare individual whom the authorities have a legitimate interest in.
If the current generation of Americans does not challenge this creeping (and sometimes galloping) expansion of federal powers over the individual through the rationale of “border protection,” we are not doing our part to keep alive the rights and freedoms that we inherited, and will soon find that we have lost some or all of their right to go about their business, and travel around inside their own country, without interference from the authorities.
It was about 11 o’clock when we got out. We never had a phone call, so no one had any clue as to our whereabouts. Or even if we were alive. We just vanished for a while. Needless to say, we missed the Marfa screening. So we made some phone calls and apologies and just drove the fuck home. Sober. Lame.
But honestly, who didn’t expect us to get busted, right? We do aim to please around here. Your welcome.