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Date: 03/07/11 03:52
Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: gregtravis

I've just spent the last hour being interrogated by the Nebraska State Police who boarded our train, the California Zephyr, at 4AM. I am in a sleeper (Car 0632, room 14) and awoke to a non-uniformed individual banging on my door, again at 4AM.

I was interrogated as to where I had boarded, where I was going, what I was doing, and had my room and my luggage searched as was the experience of all the other sleeping car occupants in my car. When we asked for identification from the officers (who were not uniformed) we were told a) They had jurisdiction and b) they would HAND WRITE individual cards.

My card reads "Richard A. Lutter", Investigator, Investigative Services Division, Nebraska State Patrol. Badge # 253.

When my fellow sleeping car riders asked why they were on the train, they said "To Search For Contraband" and that was the excuse they used to rummage through our rooms and our luggage. The train's conductor was also present and for reasons I do not understand did not throw them off the train.

This is not America.



Date: 03/07/11 04:15
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: Highspeed

Read the terms of carriage (I have not recently); if it doesn't forfeit your Fourth Amendment rights, perhaps you should call the Nebraska ACLU in Lincoln (402) 476-8091.

But gives us some more details: did you politely tell the officer that you would not consent to a search without a warrant? You have all the reason in the world to be upset, as would I, but as they say "The devil is in the details".



Date: 03/07/11 04:49
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: train671

What was the response of the train crew?



Date: 03/07/11 05:01
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: dan

searches happen frequently usually in denver, reno, slc, by say the DEA maybe atf, i have even heard of GJC. Usually they will walk fido through the baggage car, maybe the train. perhaps they got some baggage at a previous stop thought they had the owner, but were mistaken? Wonder if they are acting on a tip, or just practicing their homeland security using up some grant money and working on their readiness. did someone pay cash for a one way fare? the ticket agents pull the manifests, and gives it to them. It is all crap now. Never heard of state police doing this work on the cz unless there was some sort of trigger, if not why not practice on late train during the daylight. They do find a lot of stuff, meth is a real concern a lot has been found, even bigger things like weed, bigger amounts. Gangbangers are born every day there are always new ones that think they have a bright idea to use the train because no one uses the train, but in this day and age all commercial travel you get hassled. What the TSA did back east is just taking the fun out of any travel anymore. guess we will have to ride the CATS for a hassle free environment. Bordor patrol boards the empire builder, mostly eastbound trains are searched, that ihave heard, 4 and 6.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/08/11 09:15 by dan.



Date: 03/07/11 05:54
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: TrackOne

http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs4/4934/overview.htm

Police are doing their job to stop drugs. On board train checks have been happening for a decade or more. Amtrak personnel may have provided a tip and alerted authorities.



Date: 03/07/11 05:55
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: ts1457

gregtravis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This is not America.

Scary. What's to keep one of those agents from planting something in your stuff?



Date: 03/07/11 06:10
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: Highspeed

TrackOne Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Police are doing their job to stop drugs. On board
> train checks have been happening for a decade or
> more. Amtrak personnel may have provided a tip
> and alerted authorities.


Stopping the flow of illegal drugs and upholding the Fourth Amendment are not mutually exclusive. But I doubt the 4th Amendment has been routinely violated for ten years. And I doubt the original poster of this thread was the subject of any supposed 'tip'.

We're all operating from a lack of facts on this post, but my limited knowledge of on-board searches reveals they usually involve drug-sniffing dogs, behaviorial profiling and the development of reasonable suspicion. But again, most searches cannot take place without consent.

Most law-abiding citizens with nothing to hide would probably consent to searches when roused from their sleep. Only afterwards would they realize how violated they were. This is why our Founding Fathers created this amendment: to check the tyranny of the government.



Date: 03/07/11 06:38
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: zzzrail

They have to stop drugs somehow. Until the citizen will finally stand up, protest, and demand they get rid of drugs or the true war on terror, gangs, it will keep happening. Until then, complain or "fight" issues behind a computer screen to hide. I get searched at the airport for no reason all the time.



Date: 03/07/11 06:45
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: richs

zzzrail Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They have to stop drugs somehow. Until the citizen
> will finally stand up, protest, and demand they
> get rid of drugs or the true war on terror, gangs,
> it will keep happening. Until then, complain or
> "fight" issues behind a computer screen to hide. I
> get searched at the airport for no reason all the
> time.


The real solution is at our southern border. It appears neither major party cares to acddress this issue. I'd sure like to why not.
Rich S



Date: 03/07/11 06:45
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: toledopatch

zzzrail Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They have to stop drugs somehow.

Legalize, regulate, and tax. Tax it robustly and get the criminals out of the business. Use the tax revenue for anti-addiction programs.

Prohibition doesn't work. That was proven 90 years ago, and it's proven every day in the USA today as well.

Donning flame-retardant suit now, but you know I'm right. Plus it would mean no more oh-dark-30 wake-up calls for innocent train travelers while the narcs hunt smugglers with Constitutionally-dubious tactics like this one.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/11 06:47 by toledopatch.



Date: 03/07/11 06:46
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: RevRandy

Richard A. Lutter is a well-noted member of the Nebraska State Patrol who focuses mainly on drug-related matters involved with transportation. Much of his work is done with Greyhound bus trips, particularly those originating in the Southwest/West and destined for the mid-West (Chicago).

He is a primary witness in numerous cases of interdiction against drugs.

That said, my first reaction upon being roused from sleep at 4am might be non-reaction, as I sleep with industrial earplugs when I travel on AMTRAK. Would that make me seem suspicious or uncooperative? (and does no one remember that all the rooms have door buzzers . . . no need for heavy-handed intimidation techniques).

However, being sufficiently awakened, I would probably want to emulate the scene from "Casablanca" wherein the German Officer wants to summon Victor Laszlo for interrogation. Laszlo turns to Captain Renault, prefect of Police, and says something like "I am under the jurisdiction of Captatin Renault, and will follow his orders."

I would turn to the commanding officer of the train, the Conductor, and ask what his orders would be for my conduct. Like a Captain of a ship, the Conductor has authority over conduct on the train and I would want to have affirmation that s/he had ceded that authority to someone else.

And if the Conductor were not present I would demand to see the Conductor before allowing any search or interrogation. Otherwise, how would anyone know if this were not some criminal shakedown?

Make the crew take responsibility for what is happening.



Date: 03/07/11 06:54
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: korotaj

Drug dealing criminals are going to pay taxes! Give me a break. We can't enforce illegal drugs; how are we going to enforce "legal drugs"? The best thing that could happen for the drug cartels would be to legalize the illegal. Then everthing gets really mixed up, confused and that provides all sorts of opportunities to undercut and ship more product all around the country. The entire drug enforcement establishment would still be needed to enforce purity, dosage, labeling, taxing, etc. Any underage kid can get legal booze without any problems and the same would be true with legal drugs. Legal, illegal: no difference. Goons searching a train; sure seems like an old WWII movie.



Date: 03/07/11 06:54
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: TrackOne

The Patriot Act was signed into law by Pres Bush on October 21, 2001. It circumvents some of your 4th amendment protections. Does it take Americans ten years to figure out what happened ? Gosh.....


Highspeed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TrackOne Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Police are doing their job to stop drugs. On
> board
> > train checks have been happening for a decade
> or
> > more. Amtrak personnel may have provided a tip
> > and alerted authorities.
>
>
> Stopping the flow of illegal drugs and upholding
> the Fourth Amendment are not mutually exclusive.
> But I doubt the 4th Amendment has been routinely
> violated for ten years. And I doubt the original
> poster of this thread was the subject of any
> supposed 'tip'.
>
> We're all operating from a lack of facts on this
> post, but my limited knowledge of on-board
> searches reveals they usually involve
> drug-sniffing dogs, behaviorial profiling and the
> development of reasonable suspicion. But again,
> most searches cannot take place without consent.
>
> Most law-abiding citizens with nothing to hide
> would probably consent to searches when roused
> from their sleep. Only afterwards would they
> realize how violated they were. This is why our
> Founding Fathers created this amendment: to check
> the tyranny of the government.



Date: 03/07/11 07:07
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: seaboardc30-7

There was no "probable cause" involved in this unlawful investigation, so you have grounds to sue-big time. These incompetent idiots REALLY violated the law, and should be punished.

This was clearly a blatent violation of your rights under the "unreasonable search and seizure" provisions of the Constitution.

This appears to be an exercise merely to justify their jobs. Those unprofessional jerks need to be stopped. I'd get some legal advice and then go after those SOBs.



Date: 03/07/11 07:10
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: toledopatch

korotaj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Drug dealing criminals are going to pay taxes!
> Give me a break. We can't enforce illegal drugs;
> how are we going to enforce "legal drugs"?


We already do: tobacco and alcohol. "Underage" kids already can find marijuana and even cocaine, too, if they look hard enough.

When you legalize, you take the black-market premium out of the business and the criminals mostly go elsewhere. It won't be perfect, especially if tax rates vary place-to-place: that's why cigarette and alcohol smuggling still occur. But when you regulate and tax, at least there's a revenue stream to deal with the problems, and the violence associated with distribution and sale goes away.



Date: 03/07/11 07:12
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: toledopatch

seaboardc30-7 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There was no "probable cause" involved in this
> unlawful investigation, so you have grounds to
> sue-big time. These incompetent idiots REALLY
> violated the law, and should be punished.
>
> This was clearly a blatent violation of your
> rights under the "unreasonable search and seizure"
> provisions of the Constitution.
>
> This appears to be an exercise merely to justify
> their jobs. Those unprofessional jerks need to be
> stopped. I'd get some legal advice and then go
> after those SOBs.


I'd wholeheartedly agree with the Fourth Amendment argument IF I were confident about how this protection applies to travel on a form of public transportation. Not sure if that has been tested yet. So yeah, get that legal advice....



Date: 03/07/11 07:21
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: Cumbresfan

You might also let Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor know about this. See this link from an earlier thread:
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,2408237,page=1

Rousting passengers from their sleep at 4 a.m. is what the Gestapo and Soviets did to terrorize their citizens. A trainwide search at that hour, especially for drugs, is completely unreasonable whereas one at a daylight station stop is different. Unfortunately, it appears that the police agencies are equating drugs with terrorism and using the same "you have no rights" tactics for both.



Date: 03/07/11 07:31
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: sphogger

"To Search For Contraband"

What is considered contraband on a train? Most of the focus here thus far is on illegal drugs, on an airplane it could be anything from
your pocket knife to a bottle of shampoo. Also, unlike aircraft you are subject to and must be familiar the laws of each state you traverse?

sphogger



Date: 03/07/11 07:38
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: Ptolemy

The last two times I was rousted from a sleeper in the middle of the night was in the Soviet Union and East Germany. Is that what we have become?



Date: 03/07/11 07:43
Re: Today we were boarded (California Zephyr)
Author: Cumbresfan

I suspect these (middle of the night, knock-on-the-door searches) go on more than we are aware of. In this case a TrainOrders member experienced it and published a thread right away. Who knows how many other times it happens and those people either file a complaint or more likely act like sheeple and bitch amongst themselves or to friends or neighbors. In any event, Mr. Travis should let his member of Congress know about it along with the editor of the major Omaha newspaper. Shining the light of day on such unreasonable activities by law enforcement might help temper their eagerness to stomp on individual rights. One thing can be said though, without the internet and forums like this, we wouldn't hear about the incident.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/11 07:45 by Cumbresfan.



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