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The State

November 01, 1987

Despite a dissenting opinion that air travelers would be shocked to learn that Customs agents are examining the contents of their luggage without their consent, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld such secret searches. By a 2-1 vote, the court in San Francisco upheld the conviction of a man whose heavy suitcase, awaiting loading onto a flight from Los Angeles to Colombia, was opened and found to contain $107,000 in undeclared cash. The court ruled that Carlos Nates' bags were picked by Customs agent Ausalon Miramontes for secret inspection in April of 1986 because they were new, unusually heavy and were being sent to a country that is a known source of narcotics.

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