Maine's Leading Independent News Source

 Fort Fairfield Journal     About Us     Contact Us    Advertising Rates      Subscribe       Distribution       Bible Reference     Our Library

Homeland Security Shuts Down

Counterfeit Purse Vendors


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal 

July 9, 2012

HOULTON, Maine—Nearly a dozen Department of Homeland Security agents within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) scoured the streets of Houlton last weekend to identify street vendors who were selling ladies' handbags that may violate U.S. trademark laws.

   ICE agents identified and shut down two vendors, one at a sidewalk arts and crafts show and one at the local agricultural fair, who were selling ladies’ purses that allegedly closely resembled a brand name designer purse.

   “A day before, an undercover agent came to my booth and scoped me out,” said one of the vendors, who wants to be known only as Linda.  “Today, a bunch of agents came in, flashed badges, rattled off the law, I guess, and said they had to confiscate my stuff.”

   The ICE agents were led by Kinsman Corthell, Resident Agent in Charge of ICE in the Houlton Sector. 

    Linda said the agents confiscated nearly $800 of her product without a warrant, a court order, or even bothering to leave her with a signed receipt.  “They said they would e-mail me a receipt later.”

   At one point in the heated discussion during the warantless search and seizure, an ICE agent allegedly made a derogatory remark to Linda’s husband.  “I heard him tell my husband he was ‘not a good American.’”

   Linda says she had planned to attend six other fairs this year, and use the money to supplement her income through the summer.  “I’m all done with fairs.  I’m going home, getting rid of the rest of my stuff and am going to find something else to do.”

   At least one other vendor, a representative for outdoor wood burning boilers, was so upset with the treatment ICE agents gave his neighboring vendor that he decided to pull out of his booth space, which is rented by the day, a day early as a show of solidarity against what he perceives to be a government that is becoming continually more oppressive.

   Reportedly, ICE agents visited the errant vendors a day earlier, identified themselves and gave the vendors twenty-four hours’ notice to stop selling the allegedly counterfeit merchandise.

   Rather than enforcing United States import taxation laws, the ICE agents in this case were effectively working as private security for the designer purse manufacturer, assisting them with maintaining their monopoly on the designer handbag market.

     “The U.S. military is helping farmers in Afghanistan grow poppies to be converted into opium, heroin and morphine base; the municipal water supplies are being poisoned with toxic sodium fluoride; and the federal government was just successful in hi-jacking American taxpayers’ money to benefit a group of private, foreign banks under a phony health care law,” said one disgruntled witness to the ICE search and seizure.  “With all that going on, these feds seem to find snatching fake ladies’ purses a much more important job than defending us from the real threats to our country.”

   Town officials said they believe ICE had lawful authority to be there and conduct the search and seizure without a warrant because they are federal agents.  However, that is not entirely true.

   As federal agents, ICE is bound by the constraints of the U.S. Constitution.  In enforcing U.S. congressional law, all federal agents are limited by the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress has the power to exercise exclusive legislation “over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.” (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17).

   In laymen’s terms, that Constitutional provision limits the jurisdiction of Congressional law, and the federal agents who enforce it, to the District of Columbia, federal lands such as national parks and federal buildings, military bases and posts, and any territories and possessions of the U.S. government.  Houlton is an incorporated city in the state of Maine.  Houlton, and its community park in which the agricultural fair was situated, is not on land owned by the U.S. government, nor has it ever been ceded to the U.S. government.  The only place the ICE agents had lawful authority under the Constitution to enforce U.S. law was at the Port of Entry to the U.S. on the U.S./Canada border.  If indeed there were any products being marketed within the city of Houlton that potentially violated certain patent and trademark laws, it would have been up to the County Sheriff to investigate, obtain a warrant and conduct any necessary searches and seizure of said product, then turn it over to ICE for further processing.

   While Congress may pass a law, or a court uphold the ability of federal agents to operate outside of their Constitutionally delineated bounds, the only way to make the change legitimate is with a Constitutional amendment.  There is currently no amendment to the Constitution that expands the jurisdiction of the federal government outside of that already described therein.  Many researchers have concluded that it was the recent war of northern aggression against the southern states (a/k/a “civil war”) that allowed the federal government to believe it had the authority to exercise its legislation by fiat within the sovereign, independent states.

   “I am so disgruntled with our government,” said Linda.  “Instead of solving issues like illegal drugs, they’re going after non-issues like ladies’ purses.”


Used Books, Movies and More!

Copy  Print  Fax


252 Main Street

Fort Fairfield, Maine

(207) 472-3900

Debt Collector Lawsuit Defense

Educate Yourself with our

Free Sample Court Forms