Outwitting The Custom's Officials

By Esther Stormer


Title 14 U.S. Code designates all Officers, Warrant Officers, and Petty Officers as Federal Agents of the Customs. That didn't help a bit when the cutters returned from foreign ports of call with bottles of booze. Sometimes the "federal agents of the customs figured out ways of getting around the U.S. Custom's officials. This is one of those stories.

The USCGC DUANE always stopped at St Johns or Argentia, Newfoundland for a few days on her way home from weather patrol. It was usually an uneventful stay with the exception of fights between the men of the DUANE and the members of the Navy contingent.

On this particular trip, not one but many, had purchased alcohol in at the Navy Exchange intending to take it home as it was much cheaper than in the states.

The problem was, that the Customs Officers would take it away from them when they boarded the ship in Boston because "importing" that much liquor was illegal without the proper license.

On board the DUANE  was an inventive, capable, sneaky, Warrant Officer who had an idea. The customs officials were not allowed in the code room, the only place on ship they couldn't search.

All the ill gotten booze was placed in the code room and it took up every available inch of space. It was so crowded the room would not have been available for use if needed but that fact didn't seem to disturb anyone, let alone the Warrant Officer.

The customs officers came aboard in Boston, searched the ship thoroughly and gave the crew permission to leave the ship. After customs left, the men started leaving. Each one had a suspicious bulge under their peacoats. (Including the Warrant.)

Is it possible that Floyd telling this story from beyond the grave?

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