By Wes Wolfe
FloridaPolitics.com
March 29, 2022

Officers told truckers they can check their guns at the entrance.

A surprise inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Fernandina a few weeks ago found a few truckers bringing guns where they’re banned by federal law.

“Homeland Security, CBP, did a surprise inspection on some of the truckers, just to see what they could find,” said Danny Fullwood, chairman of the Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA), at the OHPA’s latest meeting. “Well, they found some things. There were three incidents of firearms discovered in a random search of vehicles. The law says firearms are prohibited by Homeland Security on a marine terminal, so you can’t do that.”

CBP collected guns from three searches, which Fullwood said he hopes doesn’t happen again.

“I can kind of understand — truckers, they’re out on the road all the time, they carry weapons for their safety. I understand that,” Fullwood said. “But they’ve got to understand they can’t bring them on the port. They’ve got to turn them in somewhere before they get there.”

Another incident that was flagged involved someone taking photos of the port. Worries about people photographing ports and similar infrastructure, in preparation for a terrorist attack, helped drive the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and its policies following 9/11.

“Just to be clear, whenever we have these types of interactions with public entities, under the operating agreement we report them promptly to the chairman,” Nassau Terminals CEO Chris Ragucci said.

CBP let the truckers know they can check their weapons with the officers, Ragucci told the board, until it’s their time to leave the port and be on their way.

“I just want everyone to realize that now you know when I stop on Bay Street to accost a truck driver, I’m taking my life into my hands,” Ragucci joked. “Because if he doesn’t like my attitude, boom. That’s the level of my commitment to this place.”

There was also an assault reported. During this period, the port called in Fernandina Beach Police to issue some trespassing violations.

“One of them was as a result of one of the temporary day workers involved in a fight with another worker,” Ragucci said.

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Tammi Kosack
Tammi Kosack
4 months ago

Did we get a “Bay St” when no one was looking? Wild west compared to the good ole port days of 5 years ago.

Tom smith
Tom smith
4 months ago

I understand the idea. Do they also inspect all planes entering airports? Do they search all border crossers into the country? How about stopping illegal from entering our sovereign country. Cherry picking is easy, doing real work is hard.

Bob Carter
Bob Carter
4 months ago

I just don’t understand how the government can expect to enforce a policy of ‘no pictures of the port’ when a tourist decides to snap an innocent photo?

Another incident that was flagged involved someone taking photos of the port. Worries about people photographing ports and similar infrastructure, in preparation for a terrorist attack, helped drive the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and its policies following 9/11.”

This kind of draconian rule is way over the top, and sounds a lot like 1984, the Thought Police are back in action.

George Jones
George Jones
4 months ago

Since these truck drivers don’t have a place to leave a gun why doesn’t the port provide them a place? It would help them and everyone should be satisfied.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger
4 months ago

The problems with the Port and it’s administration/leadership are piling up. It’s interesting that the Port CEO wants to dock cruise ships at the same spot where we need to protect against terrorists — the whole idea of what the port is seems to be in flux. We, the residents of the city and county, need to have a say in all of these decisions that impact our home.

Ben Martin
4 months ago

Statistically – you have more chance of dying from a peanut allergy than a terrorist attack. Much of what the government does is “theater.”

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