Press Officer Gregston Van Pukeston Detained at New York Land Border by Canada by Canadian Agents

August, 2018: North American Animal Liberation Press Officer and a friend drove for a long weekend holiday in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. While going through the Canadian side of the border crossing, Gregston and comrade, after showing passports and answering standard questions by Canadian Border Agents, were directed to the secondary search area by border agents.

From there, they were asked to step out of the vehicle, then were separated and questioned. At this point, approximately 7 border agents had surrounded the vehicle in which they were driving; the car was then searched repeatedly by several agents, then a K9 border agent had his dog search the car extensively. Gregston’s luggage was searched, every item questioned by border guards, right down to bathroom items and medications. He was also ordered to empty his pockets while being told to put his hands on his head while being patted down several times as well. Even the inside of his wallet was searched.

Gregston was then asked more than several times if he had any weapons, knives, flammable, or explosive chemicals in the vehicle. He was also asked several times by different border agents what political affiliations he had and whether he was an activist. Gregston declined to answer those questions, as the only right one has at border crossings is the right to remain silent.

Harrassment went on for almost 3 hours, until finally, when a border agent asked Gregston again what his occupation was, he replied he was a journalist. The agent seemed slightly concerned and asked if he was affiliated with Fox News or CNN. Gregston explained he was an independent journalist for an independent media outlet.

The agent, (who apparently was a supervisor) said to the other agents in French (Gregston’s travel companion is very fluent in French) heard him say, “Let’s let them go, one of them is a journalist.” They returned all possessions they were searching and allowed entry into Canada. There was no further harassment on the trip.