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Man removes feds’ spy cam, they demand it back, he refuses and sues

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 at 15:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Last November, a 74-year-old rancher and attorney was walking around his ranch just south of Encinal, Texas, when he happened upon a small portable camera strapped approximately eight feet high onto a mesquite tree near his son’s home. The camera was encased in green plastic and had a transmitting antenna.

Not knowing what it was or how it got there, Ricardo Palacios removed it.

Soon after, Palacios received phone calls from Customs and Border Protection officials and the Texas Rangers. Each agency claimed the camera as its own and demanded that it be returned. Palacios refused, and they threatened him with arrest.

Palacios, who had run-ins with local CBP agents going back several years, took the camera as the last straw. He was tired of agents routinely trespassing on his land, and, even after complaining several times, he was frustrated that his grievances were not being heard.

As a possible way to ward off the threat of arrest, he sued the two agencies, along with a named CPB agent, Mario Martinez. Palacios accused them of trespass and of violating his constitutional rights.


Palacios’ ranch is situated at the 35-mile marker due north from Laredo, along Interstate 35, just three miles south of the small town of Encinal. The nearest US-Mexico border crossing is at Laredo.

The precise distance between the border and Palacios’ ranch matters: under federal law, agents can go onto private property that is within 25 miles of the border “for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.”

In other words, if Palacios’ ranch were within that range, he likely wouldn’t have a case.

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The blue marble

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 at 10:39 by John Sinteur in category: News

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