Federal officials find some Fernandina Port truckers packing heat
Image via Worldwide Terminals.

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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 Dade 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.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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