U.S. Border Patrol agents issued six immigration-related citations during a checkpoint in the northern New Hampshire town of Columbia on Memorial Day, but officials say that they made no arrests for immigration violations.
Rather, the tickets were issued to legal visitors of the United States who didn't have appropriate paperwork in their possession, as required by law.
Border Patrol says they made nine separate marijuana-related busts, but aren’t pursuing criminal charges in those cases. The agents used K9 teams during the stop.
The roadblock was set up on Route 3 in the tiny town of Columbia, which is near Colebrook, about 15 miles from the Canadian border.
In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson says “Enforcement actions away from the border are within the jurisdiction of U.S. Border Patrol and performed as a means of preventing smuggling organizations from exploiting unmonitored roads and highways to travel to the interior of the United States. These operations are a vital tool for the U.S. Border Patrol’s national security efforts.”
In recent years, Border Patrol has carried out a series of controversial roadside checks on Interstate 93 in the town of Woodstock, N.H., nearly 90 miles from the international border.
Those checks resulted in the detention of at least two dozen people who overstayed their visas, including three minors. In addition, at least 16 legal residents were arrested on drug possession charges.
The ACLU of New Hampshire successfully challenged those arrests, arguing that the New Hampshire Constitution protected citizens from the use of drug-sniffing dogs without reasonable suspicion of a crime.