Customs May Search All Boats Entering US

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has upheld the right of the Customs Service to search any boat arriving at a U,S,port or shore, as long as there is a "reasonable certainty" that it has come from foreign waters. In this case, the defendants had been observed making several nips in and out of the San Diego Bay area in an ocean-going motor-boat of a type commonly used for overnight smuggling runs to Mexico.

Agents later searched the craft, on its trailer in a nearby parking lot and found 880 pounds of marijuana. The appeals court ruled that Customs officials did not need reason to believe the vessel contained pot, but only reasonable certainty that it had been in foreign waters.

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