About 10 days into the trip, an innocent action by one of the nearly two dozen Scouts at the Canadian border into Alaska set off a chain of events that lead to a U.S. border official pointing a gun at a scout’s head.
Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox spelled out what happened to him and the Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 as four van-loads of Scouts and adult volunteers tried to drive from Canada into Alaska.
Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.
“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.
Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.Not wanting things to escalate, Fox said he did not complain.
Another of the Scouts was taking luggage from the top of a van to be searched when something startling happened.
“He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox explained.
Fox said that had them all in fear.
Ultimately no one was hurt or arrested, and after about four hours they were allowed to continue their trip into Alaska.
When he thinks about what happened to them and the fact there are people streaming across the southern border, Fox is outraged.
Charles Vonderheid with the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America said Troop 11 learned a valuable lesson.
“We want to make sure they follow the rules. A Scout is a good citizen. It would be a great lesson in civics for that young man and that troop,” he said.
The Scouts arrived home late Sunday from their 23-day trip.
There were 17 other Scouts and three other volunteers on the trip. As of now KCCI has not been able to make contact with any of the Scouts.