The U.S. Customs Service took a big step toward observing
passengers' 4th Amendment rights yesterday when it announced that a
federal magistrate will have to give the OK for drug-smuggling
suspects to be held for more than four hours.
But why does it take four hours to tell if somebody is
suspected of smuggling drugs? If a passenger comes
swaggering up to customs wearing an I Love Pot tee-shirt and a
sporting a white-powder moustache, that person is probably a good
If, however, the suspect's behavior is less obviously felonious
but still considered borderline, ask some questions: "Did you enjoy
the food substitute? Could you tell what Mel Gibson was saying
during the bleeped-out parts? Are you carrying a kilo of cocaine in
your luggage?" This should take about two minutes.
Still not satisfied? Then get the papers signed, do your search,
shine a light anywhere the sun doesn't. But don't wait four hours.
Justice doesn't have all day, folks.